Pakistan Telecommunication Authority is usually responsible for keeping an eye on quality of service that cellular and other telecom operators provide.
Because regulator is almost dysfunctional (for last many months now) the falling service quality of cellular operators has reached to a point that it has started causing serious annoyance for mobile phone users in the country.
This is true for almost every operator in various parts of the country, but Telenor customers are said to be facing the worst quality issues these days and the problem stretches across the country. That’s defiantly due to the up-gradation of Telenor’s network during which services are likely to remain degraded.
This network up-gradation is a valid and unavoidable reason, but the amount of time and the the magnitude of disruption it is causing is raising concerns amongst the customers.
Networks get upgraded, which is routine part of life cycle for technology companies, however doing so without informing customers is quite harsh and unethical. Same is happening in case of Telenor which is consistently advertising its products and services but hasn’t aired / published a single communication regarding the network up-gradation and possible down-times / degraded services.
Telenor said that they inform impacted customers only via SMS, however, we are told that not all customers receive such text message. Reason: Text messages are sent over the same degraded network.
Due to in-availability of information, customers get the impression that Telenor deliberately disconnects their calls or degrades the call quality to earn extra from the customers.
At a time when customers are in hopeless situation, as there is not regulatory pressure on Telenor, they are now writing letters to editors in various papers to express their agony.
One such Telenor customer wrote:
I am a businessman and facing huge network problems due to my ‘Norwegian operator’.Whenever I am in the middle of an important call, it drops unexpectedly, sometimes when we are in a business conference call with our clients, the call gets disconnected, giving a very bad impression, as well as being bad for business. Trying to reconnect is not only difficult but also a waste of time which is bad for international business.
I have had the misfortune of getting connected to wrong numbers frequently costing me a lot of money. The services that should be urgent, such as sending SMS, are badly delayed by my service provider.
This cellular company has completely spoiled the idea of mobile phones, which was ‘instant connectivity.’
It is hoped that Telenor’s network will get up-graded at earliest and customers will be finally offered the European quality of service that company had promised at the time of launch in Pakistan.
It merits mentioning here that Mobilink was once imposed a fine of Rs. 60 million for poor quality of service — that was the time when Mobilink was widely known as May-Be-Link. A similar action is due again, but because democracy is in action and regulator is in state of hibernation, it is hoped that someone will rise up again to keep check and balances on the quality of service that telecom operators offer.