There are some days when I want to be really sarcastic to companies – and the reason I don’t is when a company truly deserves it, it is only possible to vent on some poor customer service rep who isn’t to blame and can’t fix it. For example
Dear Vodafone, I would like to nominate the person or team responsible for your email software for an award in the category of user-mendacious* software….
For background, I use 2 ISPs – when I got cable in 2000, I kept my mailbox with my Dial-up ISP, for which they charge me a token fee; as soon as I hooked up the cable, they wouldn’t let me send outbound mail through their server. I understood why this was; servers have one of two rules: either a message must be sent to a mailbox we control or it must come from a network address we control. The opposite of these rules says “A message sent through us but not from or to one of our people is probably spam”. So you need to send through the server of the connection provider, not the mailbox provider (Or give up on a mail clients which use Pop and SMTP protocols and access your mail through a web browser). ISPs understand this and usually have an outbound (SMTP) server named SMTP.ispName.com (or .net or whatever). Authentication is taken care of by network address: remember the thinking “our users are OK, unless we see them spamming”.
Until a couple of weeks ago every GPRS or 3G connection I had made had been made via Orange – the carrier provides the network so I need to use their server , i.e. SMTP.Orange.com. It was a piece of cake to have my Exchange AND ISP mailbox from my phones. Moving from Orange to Vodafone I thought I would just have to use SMTP.Vodafone.com. I was wrong.
Firstly my attempts to find a simple guide to setting up on Vodafone’s web site proved fruitless. Now that I know the server name I thought I’d do a search to see if is there at all. You can see what I got.
So first, if you are trying to do this, you might be told to use Smtp.vodafone.com, Smtp.vodafone.co.uk, Smtp.vodafone.net or send.vodafone.net; but that is because a lot of the advice you will find is out of date – even if you do find it via Vodafone’s own site search. I’m sure the .net one worked for me only a matter of days ago but as I write in December 2010 they don’t.
The mail server for Vodafone is SMTP.360.COM.
I had to find this out from a text chat with a Vodafone technician. 360.com ? What’s that ? Oh yes, I remember Vodafone stuck a link on the phone called “My vodafone” which goes to something at 360.com – here’s a screen shot.
Whatever… SMTP.360.COM needs to go in the “Outgoing (SMTP) server” box. Tap tap tap “logon error”. The person in the text chat said I did not need to enter credentials. But … excuse me Vodafone, you can tell from my IP address that I am one of your customers so why are things structured so I need to log on ? and what credentials do I use?
Searches keep saying “Use your vodafone mail account” I didn’t think I had one, and I don’t want one. If I say I have over 20 years experience configuring mail systems, you’ll understand how you humiliating the next bit was. I called the help desk. And this is the reason for not getting sarcastic with the poor customer service rep: she could fix my problem. So It turns out you need to go to 360.com and create a user account. This has nothing whatsoever to do with any account you might already have at Vodafone, you then set the mail settings to “Outbound server requires authentication”, put in the user name (just the name, no @360 or similar nonsense), and password. Then you can forget all about 360 (unless you want an example of how carriers think they’re adding value).
Since I’m doing all of this on a Windows Phone 7 device I wish that Microsoft could impose something on carriers to get this right. Couldn’t Microsoft, Apple and the others team up to make this happen ?
* The description of “User mendacious” was one that Douglas Adams applied to the computer game of the HitchHikers Guide to the galaxy.