This week my fixed line internet died thanks to a bolt of lightning and I’ve been using mobile internet while my fixed line is repaired.

For years I have used Cell C as my network of choice mainly because switching is a pain in the rear that I’d rather avoid. That having been said, following the events of this week I am incredibly tempted to c’est la vie to the Big C.

Let me explain.

I live on the West Rand and I often refer to it as the town that technology forgot. We have one PC store (not counting major retail chains) and the sound of land-line phones rings out across the suburbs. I have never seen a “4G” marker on my phone save for the days I travel into the Hypertext offices.

So then with that in mind I sat down to work on Wednesday morning with my Samsung Galaxy S9’s mobile hotspot activated.

“Server not responding,” my browser declared.

I hit F5.

“Server not responding”

Glancing at my handset’s signal I noticed that I had one solitary bar on Cell C’s 3G network. “Not a problem, I’ll roam on Vodacom’s network,” I muttered to myself.

A scan and tap later and I was roaming on Vodacom’s network with a full four bars of 3G connectivity. Joy of joys, I could finally work.

Only that joy was short-lived as when I hit F5 on my browser it gave me the message “server not responding” once again.

With my frustration growing I called Cell C to log a fault.

After being transferred to the technical department and logging a case with the call centre agent I had no choice but to wait for movement on the case.

Throughout the week I’ve tried to connect to the internet using a mobile hotspot with connectivity being either non-existent or incredibly intermittent to the point where it’s unusable.

This morning however, I noted something peculiar.

While on a call trying to find out how my case was coming along I received a desktop notification from Slack, Robin had messaged our general chat channel.

Prior to dialling 135 on my mobile I had no connectivity but now I was able to stream, download, upload and browse without being confronted by a “Server not responding message”.

I explained this to the call centre agent who told me it was strange but didn’t elaborate.

The call ended and so too did my connectivity.

It was at this moment that I realised what was going on. Whenever I called the Cell C call centre my internet connectivity seemed to return. With a full day of work ahead of me I realised what I had to do, I had to keep Cell C call centre agents on the line for as long as possible so that I could stay online and work.

This proved to be rather easy as the technical department was experiencing a high volume of calls. As such I could spend 15 – 20 minutes on hold before a representative for the technical department would answer the call. If they did answer I’d ask for an update on my original issue which was always “being investigated”.

And so it began, at around 09:00 I made the discovery and until 15:00 I called Cell C diligently in a bid to keep my internet up and running. It worked  but as of right now nobody I’ve spoken to at Cell C can explain what is going on.

Honestly, I don’t blame them. Never in my life have I experienced a situation such as this and I have no idea whether it will work once Cell C addresses the issues I’ve raised with them.

Whether the issue will be resolved is a guess right now. My woes with regards to connectivity will likely only be solved should Cell C build additional infrastructure in my area. That having been said I feel like this situation warrants an investigation.

My other option is to switch providers for internet connectivity but within the week my fixed line should be up and running again so I’m debating the need for a switch. I would also just like to note that all of Cell C’s call centre agents have been incredibly helpful.

In the interim I’ll keep employing this “hack” because I need to do some work. Now if you’ll excuse me I have a call to make so that I can post this story.

[Image – CC 0 Pixabay]
Brendyn Lotz writes news, reviews, and opinion pieces for Hypertext. His interests include SMEs, innovation on the African continent, cybersecurity, blockchain, games, geek culture and YouTube.