Archive for the ‘Qtel and Vodafone’ Category

UPDATE as of 24/06: After calling 115 on Sunday, I was told that I have an appointment for Thursday this week. Great! Was just hoping that they SMSed me as they committed instead of groping inthe dark. I was actually called again today by CS for a confirmation of tomorrows’ schedule.
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I’ve applied for a shifting of Qtel services and was told that they’d SMS me after 3 days to give me an appointment. That was a week ago!  I already called QTEL and last Thursday to "remind" them that I did apply for the shifting and was told that I’d be given an appointment in 3 days time. Apparently, the guy in QTEL Lulu hypermarket, who told me this, was lying. The CS told me that it takes 7-10 days before they even give me that appointment! Arghhh… I just hope w’re still here when that happens.

This is what I don’t like about QTEL. It’s always a waiting game.

Remember the "1st 1000" customers of Vodafone? The 1st 1000 were actually given a "forum" (which they called "blog") to post their comments and suggestions to Vodafone as they tested the network of Vodafone. I am not sure how many have been posting in the "forums" but from a thousand, there are less than 30 who actually posted something. One of the reasons why people were not that receptive about it was that we were not allowed to change the passwords given to us. It is indeed difficult to remember a mumbo-jumbo of a password given. Anyway, in the begining, we’ve commented and told Vodafone where they needed to improve on network coverage and after days of not being able to make calls and frustration setting in, Vodafone eventually made some improvements. As days and weeks pass by, we, the 1st 1000, felt being left out and all the hype of being just a "guinea pig" for testing purposes became more eveident. Here are some comments from the Vodafone 1st 1000 "blog/Forum".

from Imran:
One must realize that the Blog was full of praises and excitement at the beginning from everyone including me. We even felt proud to be amongst the "1st 1000" customers of brand Vodafone.

…we all motivated Vodafone, supported them and even criticized them, where required, as part of the Team working to build Vodafone Qatar.

We all support Vodafone, infact I myself would love to be a customer of Vodafone till I am in Qatar but Vodafone should show "Value for their customers", moreover value for the people who help them in building their network in their infancy stage.

If they open the plans where everybody can subscribe and the same plans are given to 1st 1000 without any value addition, wont we feel undervalued and uncared for, customers? Others didnt pay a penny to Vodafone and got the same plan, we paid QR280, dedicated both money, time and patience to Vodafone and we too are offered same plans without any value addition, as others.

from (name withheld):
Not to sound negative, but I was expecting Vodafone to provide us with an experience unlike their predecessor. Unfortunately, what we have so far is more of the same. As a member of the ist 1000 team, I was expecting to be informed first about the steps Vodafone is taking towards rewarding this group. All Vodafone did so far was take a service charge for an incomlete service (No international calling or messaging, no roaming, no improved coverge, and no sign of improvement). In my specific case, Vodafone charged me for the service for a third month (the service was due to end on 31 May) before informing me they were extending the trial period. When I called, I was informed that the balance will be valid for 2 months (July 2009). Additionally, I had a balance of QAR 1130.00 on the date of my renewal and after charging me the QAR 70.00 and adding the QAR 700.00 I ended up with the balance of QAR 1,400.00??? I do not understand it. When I called them (get this), my phone call was interrupted because of a connection error??? when I called back, the representative told me she will get back to me in 48 Hours. I am waiting!!!! In today’s paper, Vodafone announced their new service packages which we as the first 1000 had no idea about nor were we made aware of how to confirm our service or to transfer our balance into our permanent service. I am still wondering what happenned to my 400.00 QAR balance that evaporated and still waiting for somebody at Vodafone to move…. I am very dosappointed also to learn that despite the fact Vodafone offers competitive rates and packages worldwide, their rates here in Qatar as announced are extremely disappointing and do not offer any privilages financially or service wise to their client. Vodafone may rake up a lot of money initially, but they will not have customer loyalty or boffer an alternative to the abuse we suffered under Q-Tel unfortunately. I hope this will be read by somebody that may look into the subject not from as a special case but a general case, because i believe others are suffering as much as I am.

from Fionah:
Its sad – I had so much of hope until the last month. Its not just one thing or network coverage as a single-out which would have been acceptable. Its the belief in an international brand who accepted a sample public audience at a fee and then failed as a service organisation to live up to world class service level standards which should have been mastered after years in the industry. It is also a tragedy in its own making that the company launched its offering to the first 1000 public members without any visible planning in its marketing, communication and product implementation strategy for this group of people.

Vodafone should have taken more time to think through its strategy – yes we are just the 1000 and not shareholders but as a company you took money from me (a member of the market you will service) to test a service that is now going out of its contract time (which you still charging me for) so from my side you have failed on your end of the contract and wrapping it up as a thank you gift that I am covering as an dumb test agent for you. In the end it was not about whether your coverage was perfected (as this will only be perfected over time)…it was a matter of how you treated the people who would sell, use and appreciate your product as loyal customers.

What happened to the Vodafone "1st 1000" customers? It seems that we are left in the dark after paying 210QR for the program and helping them test out their services. We are left scratching our heads trying to find out what’s going to happen to our AUTOPAY and the credits we got . Remember that we pay 70QR monthly for a credit of 700QR but with all the issues of Vodafone coverage in Qatar and not even being able to use it in my office, that 700QR credit is as close to useless.
 
 When I decided to apply for the Vodafone 1st 1000, my initial thoughts were it was cool to be one of the first Vodafone users in Qatar. Alongside with that, I do get 700QR worth of calls, expecting that services were at least 80% of what Qtel has to offer in terms of coverage and stability. Also, as one of the 1st 1000, I expected that we were supposed to be "special" in one way or another. With regards to Coverage and stability, I was proven wrong the 2nd day I  used Vodafone. I’m sure this was also true for the other 999 users. But since it was in BETA/testing phase, I just shrugged it off and tried to report whatever I can to help Vodafone out in terms of telling them where I get good signals and were I don’t get any at all so that they could improve coverage. Apart from the survey that we got, or the here and there posts and reply from the Vodafone 1st 1000 Blog Admin, I didn’t feel that Vodafone give the 1st 1000 feel anything special.

So to summarize the experience to being the first 1000:

1. Paid 70QR for 700QR Credit.
2. 700QR credit for 1st month is close to useless as No coverage, no stability, dropped calls.
3. Paid 70Qr again. Credit now goes to 1400QR. Used 200QR to call when there is service.
4. Got survey from Vodafone.
5. Paid another 70QR. Doesn’t really care how much credit I have now. I’m sure I have a lot!
6. Scratching head on what to do with credit.

I actually don’t know how the 1st 1000 customers are going to be different from the other would-be clients of Vodafone. At this point in time, I still don’t feel "cooler" than those who are still using QTEL. I still don’t feel special nor do I feel any different from anybody else. Wasn’t this supposed to be the goal of Vodafone for the 1st 1000? Hopefully, if I scratch my head a bit more, somebody from Vodafone might realize that the 1st 1000 still exist and might do something drastic and make the 1st 1000 users believe that Vodafone is going to be better in service and products. Until then, we can only scratch our heads…

Is this Round 1 for the QTEL-Vodafone boxing match? Has Vodafone removed its boxing gloves and resorted to a UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) tactic? It seems that Vodafone is trying to punch its way through getting through subscribers too early in the game.

After the Vodafone event held last weekend, Qtel is criticizing its competitor for indulging in what it said was negative campaigning and attack marketing. It is said that in the said event, there were statements made by Vodafone management which were inappropriate. Also, their trainees sent off their QTEL sim cards with balloons to mark the event titled "Bye Bye Qtel, Hello Vodafone".

There are 2 things that make me wince at this tactic. First, I’m not sure that this is the best way to do your marketing especially at this point in time where Vodafone has yet really shown that it is indeed better than QTEL in terms of services and products being offered. I mean, even for a "1st 1000" customer like me, I really can’t say "Bye Bye Qtel, Hello Vodafone" as I doubt that Vodafone would be my choice of network in the next 3 months or until they prove me wrong. Secondly, and related to the first, I think that a better way to market yourself is with your services and products, which again, Vodafone has yet to really show. If this was done 5 months from now, where one can clearly see the advantage of using Vodafone than Qtel, I would give a nod to Vodafone.

You can always market hard and compete directly against a product. They do this in the US when they pit Coke vs. Pepsi. Eventually, it would be interesting to see QTEL and Vodafone in such fierce competition as it would only produce better service and products from both. In the end, we don’t want to see QTEL or Vodafone winning their match, it should be the consumers who should be king! 

So it seems the ADSL speed upgrade has been rolled out by Qtel and almost 95% of users are enjoying their download speeds right now. The upgrade is as follows:

512kb -> 1mb = 200QR
1 mb -> 2 mb = 300QR
2 mb-> 4mb = 400QR

A lot of people have been putting down QTEL for their internet services before and I’m sure that a lot are still complaining despite the upgrades. Personally, all I can say is its good the QTEL is providing the upgrade for free. And the good thing about it is that it doesn’t have any download limitations. I mean, other ISPs in the middle east only allow you to download a certain GB of data per month. Any excess byte means additional fees. For a 200QR 1 mb connection, that is good. That is if you’re comparing it to the rest of the Middle East. Again, it’s another story if we compare it to Korea, Taiwan or Japan. And it’s one goal that QTEL should always strive for, to not just be the best in the Middle East but be at par or even better the those which are at the top.

Read excerpt of the official news:
Internet users across Qatar received an unexpected bonus this morning, with the news that Qtel has doubled Broadband speeds for its customers, free of charge, with immediate effect.

The enhanced speeds are among the first benefits realized through Qtel’s major Internet upgrade, which began on 1 April 2009, and were instantly made available for ADSL and Mozaic TV+ customers across the country.

With the speed upgrade program, customers currently enjoying speeds of 512 Kbps can migrate to 1 Mbps without any additional charges, retaining the competitive price of QR200 a month.

This same speed upgrade is being made available for customers of Mozaic TV+, the innovative “triple play” service, which will now come with 1 Mbps as standard.

Customers using the higher 1 Mbps or 2 Mbps service can move up to the 2Mbps or the new 4 Mbps service – without additional charges.

Over time, Qtel will phase out the 512 Kbps service, and deliver 1 Mbps high speed Internet as standard. Customers will be able to deploy the 1 Mbps for QR200, 2 Mbps for QR 300, and 4 Mbps for QR 400.

The initiative has been developed to deliver twice the value at no extra cost for Qtel customers, enabling them to enjoy the benefits of enhanced technology and Qtel’s ongoing investment in a world-class Internet infrastructure, under the “Broadband Qatar” strategy.


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