★ Managing expectations (on Mobile Vikings).

Note: I write this with the best intentions towards Mobile Vikings, I switched from Base to MV in the beginning of the 2011 (knowing all this) and I haven’t regretted it for a second.

Mobile Vikings is a virtual mobile provider in Belgium, offering mobile data on the cheap. The company first gained traction on both Facebook and Twitter and uses those as a tool to communicate with their costumers.

Lately, their service has been rather unstable, with frequent downtime as a result. The company then set up a status-page so that costumers can check the status themselves. And when the network goes belly up again, Mobile Vikings uses its social media channels to keep costumers up to date. This kind of communication is never easy: your costumers want the thing back online yesterday and all you can say is ‘we’re working on it’.

As of late, more and more users (in my twitter stream that is) are getting fed up with this downtime and are starting the complain. And those people have a point. You pay for something and you’re not getting it.

But I feel that this is a problem of managing expectations.

Mobile Vikings offers a great service but let’s face it, they were never known for uptime or stability. And when I recommend Mobile Vikings to someone, I tell them exactly that. If you depend on your phone (and on mobile data), Mobile Vikings is not for you (yet). You need a real provider. Would I use MV if I needed my phone for work or if I had to be reachable all the time? No.

So, you can get Mobile Vikings but you can’t depend on it (for now that is, they are working hard to fix this). That sounds really harsh but it’s not if you know that going in.