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Vodafone UK won’t support iPhone Visual Voicemail service at launch

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Call meImage: Michal Marcol / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Like many other existing Vodafone customers I was excited to learn that the iPhone will finally be (officially) available on the Vodafone UK network. Come the 14th January 2010, handsets will be available to new and existing customers. I’ve been enjoying using an iPhone 3G on the Vodafone network since around March/April 2009. Regular readers will be aware I’ve managed this by jailbreaking an O2 Pay and Go handset. Whilst I can enjoy the majority of iPhone features on my handset, there has been a key feature I’ve wanted to use for sometime and I’ve not been able to: Visual Voicemail.

Since Vodafone wasn’t an official carrier for the iPhone, they had no provision for the service. Rather than having the voicemail button do nothing, I’ve remapped it to dial my Voicemail number. It serves a purpose, but it’s not the same as Apple’s intended functionality. I was intregued to find out what will happen once the iPhone becomes available on Vodafone UK.

I’m a regular Tweet and discovered Vodafone UK are represented on Twitter – like many companies, I’m more than sure their stream is managed by a PR department who have access to techies for the more problematic of interactions. I dropped them a Tweet asking if the Visual Voicemail service would be available.  I was surprised by the answer I received; in short, “no”.

I went back to them to suggest that this couldn’t be right, that this is a core feature for the iPhone and they surely must have plans to implement it. I was told that it had been discussed, but they’d made a “business decision” not to provide the service. I expressed my disappointment and that they should reconsider such a stance since I didn’t anticipate this being well recieved by consumers. The follow up I received read:

Hi, I have raised the suggestion for you under case 12616. If you would still like to contact us click http://bit.ly/JhPl0

This was all before Christmas. I left the conversation at this point and thought I’d leave it a while then spend some time searching Google for other people’s experiences. I’ve done just that today and found nothing really mentioned.  All I could find were historical postings by people in the jailbreaking scene looking for ways to access their voicemail in the traditional sense using first generation iPhones. I’m sure this will all change come the 14th January and I can’t help but wonder how fast Vodafone will back peddle the “business decision” not to provide Visual Voicemail and rush something out.

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