Ufone Not at its Best

When we see PTA’s stats, it is evident that Ufone has failed to produce solid sales in recent months. Along with this down turn in sales, we see a decline in company’s morale that reflects through Ufone’s marketing trends, promotions, advertisements and its work force interactions.

If we look at stats for 2008 and first half 2009 for Ufone, you will agree that company did pretty well in grabbing customers along with it showed positive financial results.

You will agree with me that it is not just a co-incidence that departure of Asher Yaqoob and emergence of Etisalat’s management marks the starting point of Ufone’s decline. Ufoners will agree that Asher Yaqoob was the person who lifted Ufone back in 2007-08 when it was facing serious marketing and network issues.

Under Asher, Ufone offered most VAS than ever, and it is again not a co-incidence that Ufone has stopped offering new VAS since Asher left Ufone.

Etisalat’s involvement in Ufone’s management is causing another source of confusion amongst the employees. First Saoud Abdulaziz Bin Hadef Al Shamsi was appointed as deputy CEO then Walid Irshad became group CEO of PTCL and Ufone in parallel.

Ufone’s management is sandwiched between Etisalat’s officials, hence not given a free hand to play the game. If we look at company’s attitude towards work force, a hint of strictness can easily be felt.

We have seen what Etisalat’s management did to PTCL and now its Ufone’s turn to bear the brunt.

If we talk about services, we see a major shift in Ufone’s policy for monetizing in every possible way. This part is defaming the company amongst the customers.

In terms of promotions, Ufone is heavily relying on SIM lagao offer – and despite of the demand, we are not seeing any 30 second package from the company. (You can avail 30 second package through voice bundles, but there is no recognized offer like Zong, Telenor, Mobilink and Warid are offering)

Lastly I will talk about advertisements, which were top notch once, but maybe Ufone needs to change the idea of hilarious scripts.

Readers can add their thoughts in below comments

Tech reporter with over 10 years of experience, founder of ProPakistani.PK


  • Ali Mirza

    I agree with the above post.
    by the way, Ufone is offering a 30sec billing(Life Package) .. the issue is with the rates.. :| ..

  • Zubair

    Warid growing with almost nil marketing which thing keeps warid in customers heart iz warid’s best voice and data network and third largest operator

  • i love ufone still

  • zaffar

    But only love se companies nahi chalteen brother. It needs to show good results in terms of revenue and customers. I agree with aamir that Etisalat’s management is trying to fool people like they did via PTCL. Now PTCL charges are up but the service is down. They may be successful as PTCL facing almost no competition. But the same policy will not be successful in cellular market as the competition is very tough here. From last few month Ufone is trying to charge on free services(delivery reports, balance summaries etc) but totally ignoring the 30S package. Public Demand is stand still @0.99/30S from a long time where as other are down to 0.63/30S & 0.45/20S. They modified U Won to offer tension free.So people kab tak sirf love k sahare ufone use kren. I have seen those people who strongly favor Ufone in past are now shifted to other operators. So Ufone plz change the policies before people change their choice

  • K, Shahzad

    Well this is how it works in Pakistan. Companies when they are being managed by Government they are in bad condition and then when they are privatized, this is done without looking into either the purchaser will be able to run it or not and that finally proves worst.

    This is what done in case of PTCL and in tern the ufone.

  • Imran

    i also love and like Ufone very much, its my best mobile fone network, not others. May Allah give more and more progress to Ufone always, AAMEEN, Insha Allah. Ae Allah, help my best mobile fone network Ufone always, AAMEEN. Insha Allah, Ufone is best and will be best always.

  • Qasim

    This decline need not be irreversible for Ufone. They can learn a lot from Warid, which was in serious decline for over a year during 2008-2009 but then they came back with such force that they have now left Ufone behind in terms of numbers of customers. Obviously if Ufone will charge for Balance alert and SMS delivery notice while the very same things are provided free by Warid, this was bound to happen!

  • Facebook User

    I agree with the above post.
    by the way, Ufone is offering a 30sec billing(Life Package) .. the issue is with the rates.. :| .

  • Irfan Zafar

    I using Ufone from last 5 years. But almost from last 2 years this is so reliable as in past years. The quality, rates and services are gradually decreasing. 30 sec PKG known as “public demand” was the best one 2 years ago. but now is most costly in the market.

  • Mudassir

    Dear Aamir,
    Can you please also post revenues for each operator. According to my sources, Ufone is still the most profitable Telco in Pakistan. Pakistani Market has 5 operators, market is saturated, Hence we shouldnt look at no of subscribers, We should look at Revenues instead.
    I am using Ufone and the offers they throw are amazing. here i should also mention that Ufone Off-net rates are cheaper then all operators i.e. If i call Mobilink or telenor from my Ufone, it will cost me cheaper then me calling mobilink number from Mobilink.
    Also, i read on your blogs few months back that Mobilink and Warid are throwing their employees out and they really did. It never happend in Ufone.
    I have this special attachment with Ufone because its our own (Pakistani) company. Long Live Ufone :)

    • yasir

      AOA Mudasir shb ,

      No doubt , there was only the ufone which was doing well and also ptcl was a golden egg laying hen .

      since being a ptcl employee , i tell u that the companies raise and get lift thru the enthusaism of the work force rather than adds and other non-techinical measures.

      The note as mentioned above by amir shb is really worthy and quite self explanatory and true so further is no need to write any thing .

      Simply the remarks i shall add that the company that wastes it human capital has no worth and no ffuture .

      And what is human capital ,

      It is the techinical force , engineers rather than the glamorous marketing or HR or Personal females office assistants.

      The Etisalat has already ruined not only the ptcl but also over all the trelecom market of this country.

      PTCL actuall people were discouraged and then dismissed in a very fraudulent way .

      And then the employees were mentally tourtured .

      In the pretext of attendence , the HR Abuse very carried out .
      Now people come for attendence rather than working .
      It was time in the past that people used to sit late and finish thier work. They have dedication and love with thier work.
      After the attendence system at PTCL h/qs, the people who were really working became so much discouraged that they limited thier work with in that timings .

      So now how will be profit generted when the people are abused .
      Etisalat has no good reputation in addressing the employees. So no one is paying any heeds to thier work.

      we must get rid of the Etisalat clutches now .

  • Margin_Pressure

    With due respect to the Blogger (and thank you for sharing this article), I disagree that the decline is the result of one Mr Asher Yaqoob leaving and Etisalat taking over. I agree that Etisalat has no experience working in an environment where they are not a monopoly (and the grueling conditions in Pakistan and India for that matter is going to be a great learning experience for this giant). However, I have no doubt that they have earnest intentions to see Ufone successful. Also, I believe with any major change such as the alleged one with the superstar Asher Yaqoob leaving has an adjustment or uncertainty period but after getting worse, things will invariably improve since the new Management will try its best (and no, I don’t work for Etisalat or supply to them. If anything as a Pakistani I am sad that our national treasure, paid for by the money of the people of Pakistan, was privatized in this manner and that we now have Arab Management. I am sure we could have found talented Pakistani management and ran PTCL in the manner of Singapore Telecom and still be Pakistani owned).

    It is true that Ufone advertisements have declined, but this margin pressure is affecting others too. Is it not? Even Zong has reduced the number of advertisements as have others. I sorely believe that most every telecom company is hurting including Mobilink and have scaled back advertising or moved to more below the line / localized advertising in newer growth markets in Pakistan (which only have access to PTV). This form of brand promotion while cheaper can be arguably as effective.

    Would love to hear others thoughts.

  • hi,
    i had been ufone user since 2004.
    n still i say i love ufone. but now i compel to leave ufone, becouse now it pakeges are not spouts to customers. since they apply some changes;
    1) Balace inquiry charges
    2) delivery sms charges
    3) No modification in 30 sec billing packge.
    4) And last serious issue weekly sms pakeges only bound to life pakeges.

    if above, we compere to other. aprox all oprether offering weekly sms pakege witout any bounds.and even no extra charges in balance and delivery reports inquiry.
    in last changes in public demand package. now market has 0.63, 0.65,0.68 rate and 0.45/20sec packages…

    • Ali Mirza

      Perfect! yes. All points you mentioned above need to change

  • nice information i have chosen right place. thanks for sharing

  • faizza

    pakistani cellular companies shuld raise their rates soo much k young generation raat ko jag k apas men baton k bijae soe….class men sms k bijae parhey n lakhon ki tadaad men jo wrong numbers tung kartey han free pakages ka faida utha k wo jaan chod den….i m satisfied from ufone….ap delivery report mat use karen…..dont ask balance…bhai hakumat k sath sab ko chance h faida uthaney ka…to as we alwiz do…permitt dem….

    • yasir

      Of course , i agree .

      The cellular companies have offered so cheap packages that it is no more a issue for any young boy to be in line with the young girl.

      Packages like ” Lamby raat , Lamby baat ”

      hannn and many more , they are totally spoiling our young generations .

      I remember when there use to be only ptcl land line number in homes . in those days we have to ask our parents even to dial our freind . When it was permited by the mother then we could dial and talk . and talk was only to the point .

      But now , it is extreme liberty. In one room each girl is having the chat with thie boy freind.
      So what is this ?

      It is really hilarious and rediculous .

  • Mohid

    according to me Ufone is best bcz it give mch cheep rates to its coustomers nd owsme pakgesss nd i lv to be use U fone

  • Altaf

    Companies don’t grow themselves. It’s all because of employees.

    It’s true that in Ufone the culture is too beaurocratic. Taking new initiatives and improving operational efficiencies leads to think certain higher ups as their authority is compromised. They still love to work like sarkari file system.

    Such a culture can help higher ups to get good bonuses, but never helps any organization to grow as high performers will keep leaving due to such environment.

    Let’s hope Ufone changes it’s attitude towards such things and employees.

  • aftabkashar

    I know that ufone offers 30 seconds package through bundle offer but again user are victim of GST which result user charge extra money.
    While other companies offering 30 second packages. They don’t deduct extra money except card charging but ufone does this hypocrisy which results user to pay extra money. I my self use ufone but they never offer any special or good packages.
    They just spend money on funny advertisement.

  • K R

    Hi

    Although it is really a nice sharing and education for others to know what are the management failure. Once I was going through a research it was showing that in IT and Telecom 90% project failure is because of management failure and only 10% is for technology failure. So one can easily understand the importance of management attitude towards any success and failure.
    However in the blog it is mentioned that due to Asher departure all this shit has happened to Ufone. I would like to ask the writer to please elaborate this thing as what I believe how one can offer in the market above than its limit or capacity? When you are in market and have to compete in a cutthroat competition then how can you through or show all of your cards to others or in easy words when customer population is not able to digest extensive VAS compaign then how you can offer almost ten to fifteen new VAS services every month? Can any body tell me how many VAS services Ufone has right now? I am sure no body knows about it and even employees of Ufone don’t know as I have seen comments of Ufone employees here on this blog and Ufone web site is also not showing all those VAS services.
    I am agree with Altaf but want to add one thing that problem with Ufone is the management commitment for their targets as every one is trying to find a escape goat for his failure in delivering the results. In this situation Etisalat was compelled to interfere into Ufone management if there were results in Ufone management before Etisalat interference then why Etisalat would like to disturb a winning combination?
    I would like to mention the ad of Zong in which they highlight SMS Spam and hitted Ufone for not offering SMS Spam however they do offer Call Block. So these are the failures when you know the needs of customers and you are unable to deliver it at first.

  • Omer Hassan

    Ufone network and billing accuracy is getting worst day by day no doubt about it.

  • Arif

    Ufone expanding huge investment to advertising and publicity not investing in service development that’s why service going to bad impression and depression :-(

  • MAK

    A long-time Ufone customer but now thinking of porting out
    Had two bad experiences. First, when I discovered on PTA website I had Ufone and Telenor SIMS issued on my CNIC (without my knowledge and consent off course), before visiting respective customer service centers (CSC), I thought of dropping mails on their CS email addresses. I did not get even an automated response from Ufone let alone a human one. Since I had ‘Read Receipts’ turned on I got a few read receipts telling me my mail was read but never responded to. Their email system must have forwarded it to many people. Later, I started getting ‘Not Read and Deleted’ notifications showing the indifference of the so called ‘Customer Service’ staff of Ufone. Telenor people on the other hand came back with a professional and polite human reply within an hour of my mail.

    Second experience was in recent Muharram long weekend holidays. As usual they blocked my outgoing when I was 92% on my limit (I fail to understand why they keep extending advances to very unloyal prepaid customers and block postpaid customers even when they have money in their accounts). Even after payment and despite several calls to CS, I couldn’t get a satisfactory answer let alone my services restored.