30 October, 2007

To switch or not to switch?

Whoah! Hold your horses, mine is a post of constructive criticism looking for answers/solutions compared to those sprung up just below.

I've just about had it with this major telecoms company. It seems no coincidence that every time I've enrolled for a service, there has been some issue or other to resolve, and thus, it wouldn't be an inaccurate guess that the majority are facing a growing dissatisfaction with this telecoms co.

When Du came into operation as the sole competitor, I saw no need to switch: and rightly so, given the nature of complaints that followed in the first month (hence the "apology" by Du by way of "free credit" to new customers).

Now, I am seriously comtemplating a switch to Du based on repeat occurences of the following:

1)Very poor customer service - Emails of mine to the customer service department and to the helpdesk have gone unanswered, with no follow-up
2)It is not possible to resolve issues by telephone - one must visit a branch in person

The straw that broke the camel's back: there is now a new rule in which you can only buy a replacement SIM card in the emirate you bought it in. That means if you were making a day trip to another emirate and thought "Hey, why don't I pop in here and buy my SIM card" - well, you have to go back there to apply for your replacement. You cannot just visit any branch like before (the good old days).

Firstly, I don't see the logic in sending bulk SMSs to customers promoting your services and when this service is amended, the same means (SMS) cannot be used to notify them. Secondly, I was told the reason for this change was an amendment to the "system". A telecommunications company should have the technological means to issue replacement SIM cards from any branch throughout the UAE - after all, it is a national company, and technology is meant to make our lives easier, and aid companies specialising in technology to make "systems" more advanced, not take a step backward.

Make a complaint, and your emails go unanswered. Ask to speak to a manager in this telecoms company? The manager has no telephone number. They simply do not care.

I would like to know if anyone of you has made a switch to Du; what your experience has been so far, and if it was worth the change.


rosh said...

A bit off topic.

Did my pennyworth of support for Du, and "bought" (meaning paid AED 1K) a neat Du cell number, from a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend....

Much to my dismay (given, our home is sorta close to Etisalat HQ in SHJ) I've got zero reception from DU sim cards. However replace with an Etisalat sim, the reception bar shoots to the moon!

*sigh* yup so much for competition.

Sorry, couldn't be of much help there i*...

i*maginate said...

No, *rosh, that was a tremendously helpful comment/response.

This Dhs. 1 promotion is plastered all over Mall of the Emirates parking lot pillars (new form of outdoor advertising, in case you didn't know) and this cheapskate advertising tactic certainly caught my eye, for the wrong reasons, I guess. But what can one do when there's not much choice. Judge on the advertising, the service, or the product itself? Which is what I'm looking for: a product easy to buy, easy to service, easy customer service: not to much to ask for in the 1st world.

I have also heard from the very few Du users out there that the signal is abysmal (no rhyming intended) when armed with a Du sim card.

I just want to know if others have shared a similar experience, and if it is worth switching, after all.

SevenSummits said...

I* , my input as well. I am with E**** and will certainly not change. OK, their service really sucks and I agree with everything you said, however …. and not even sure if this is important to you: Have you considered how the other option is doing when you will travel. E.g. to the Alster :-) No honestly I mean it – how about in other GCC countries or any other of your fav places. E*** has never let me down so far and they seem to operate almost everywhere and even with a resonable charge, so this could be worth a thought!

i*maginate said...

Thank you, sevensummits - the extra E*** much appreciated! haha.

I momentarily forgot about the Alster in this post - but thanks for reminding me about the travelling aspect, which is of much significance to me. What do do? The E* gang conveniently forgot to deliver my Blackberry in time for my planned getaway. And, and, and. So, am yet to experience the E** experience of neverlands.

Alster trip so far comes with an old T-Mobile "Handy" (:P) but this is quite old fashioned if my own E boys can't deliver an equivalent solution on time, even if paid for.

E* may operate well abroad, and good for them and for me (when I make the next trip down to Nordrhein-Westfallen) but what about other basic services that are poorly catered to on home-ground? Having to travel to another emirate to activate a service which you had no idea after a while would only be confined to the emirate you paid for the service? I can bet I can enrol for a T-Mobile service online if I wanted to, right now, with my E*-service.

I understand we should now du-zen one another.

Rose in Dubai said...

I've got a du mobile line as a "spare" phone for visitors and I have to say so far I'm very impressed and seriously considering switching phones. In 4 years I've never been able to get internet services or mms messaging to work with etisalat, with du they sent me the installer within a minute of me registering the phone and it worked first time. Reception is better and clearer too.
But please don't all switch!

Rose in Dubai said...

oh yes, and international roaming worked and didn't cost me a huge deposit either.

Bridget Jones said...

Woh Diary, people also pinch our line 'hold your horses' ;-)

Just Kidding I*, go girl!

i*maginate said...

*Rose in Dubai, my MMS experience has been less than satisfactory with the E boys, but then again, my expectations are low. That said, even though an MMS has taken ages to deliver, and the case is contrary with our Du friends, I might consider a switch taking things into perspective.

Du reception is not something to write home about, as far as I know. This is an important point, on which I will base my "switch" decision given further comments.

Thanks for your input, *rose in dubai.

nick said...

E***, aka 'Itisalot' doesn't provide bad service really I have to say. Apart from the blocking of nice websites. Du is a joke. I wait and see and let them learn to walk first before running.

Question: any of you using Du 'call select'? That wuold save me a ton on my Itisalot landline international calls....

Anonymous said...

there is now a new rule in which you can only buy a replacement SIM card in the emirate you bought it in.

Well, this is not a new rule. It has always been like this. I had a similar experience 7-8 years ago. The funny thing is that it is STILL happening in this age of advanced IT !!

As far as quality of service is considered, they have done a good job so far. The only complaint I have is that they should reduce their prices & stop treating the UAE consumers as cash cows for their overseas expansion drive.

CG said...

I have a du card in a spare phone. The internet and 3G services are really good, but their reception is CRAP. Could not get DU to work in some areas of France or Thailand. I have heard some complaints about its service in Scotland to. Some areas of Jebel Ali have limited service, but rarely turn it on in remote regions.

small m said...

I basically agree with dg. But both I* and DG should know: I lost my E* SIM card which was purchased online and somehow seemed connected to their Sharjah office. Just a couple of days ago I walked into their Al Ain Business Centre and was issued a replacement in about 5 minutes.

So I'm not sure what gives.

Anonymous said...

I know for a fact, that DU has no reception in some areas of Sharjah, Austria and Lebanon.

I believe that people should wait before they switch. For the moment, I am abroad, I can tell u that the Etisalat prepaid prices do well compared to Europe. However, in terms of internet, the speed offered by Etisalat is just a joke and so is the price...

Grüsse an meine Nachbarn...

SevenSummits said...

Liebe Grüße zurück an Dich Anon @ 13:45

I* as a second SIM I would really advice you to go for Vodafone (that really seems to work almost anywhere)

In regards to Du, I also believe that you should wait and observe their professional competence for a while. It is like dumping a guy, you might get something worse as a spare. (while he will try harder in the beginning to impress you :-))

rosh said...

I agree with 7S - Etisalat has really good reception quality. The entire 15 years or so I used their sim cards - NEVER had a "dropped call".

With Cingular AT&T (and have been with T-Mobile & Sprint in the past) I have dropped calls every now & then and that too whilst being right in middle of the city? It feels so ancient - the cell phone technology here and quite frustrating. The roaming charges and taxes on taxes can be outrageous! From that perspective, Etisalat is quite positive.

i*maginate said...

*nick, thanks for the info about eatingsalad but I don't know how you came to the conclusion that Dump is any worse.

*dg, seems you're saying something and they're saying something else. They rejected my application becase they said they have a new rule since last month saying SIM cards can only be replaced at the branch it was purchased at. I know for a fact this rule was not operational (at least in my case) because I just went to the same branch for the same thing a few months ago!

*cg dododododo u say not to dodo? Hmm. OK, I not dododo!

*small m, maybe I should try getting served by a man next time, grow my posterior a little more and pout much more...

I don't know how you got served in Al Ain!~

*Anon, Gruesse/Danke fuer die Informationen! I don't use E* so far but my new Blackberry will do when I travel - seems dodo does not seem effective, I guess. Thx :)

*sevensummits, quite apt analogy hehe. Dump one, and the next might be worse! I would have taken the risk without dumping the e-boys but now I don't think it's worth bothering. What's the benefit: price? I don't know the mobile tariffs but doubt it's any or much different to the e-boy.

I tried to retain faith in this e-boy but what can I do...THEY DON'T CARE AND THEIR PROCEDURES ARE SOOOO OUTDATED!!


fellow atheist said...

I had a du number that I have used for a while. They put a 'credit limit' on my phone. Something silly like AED 600/-. I reached 500 and they blocked my international calls. I reached 600 and they blocked all outgoing calls. Mind you, this is within the month. I couldn't figure out what the problem was until they later told me that this is my credit limit.

Why the limit? Beats me. When I submitted my documents, I provided them proof of the trade license of my company. I am not salaried, so what can I say?

I never had this problem with etisalat. I normally spend about 800-900 a month on phone bills. Yeah, I make a lot of international calls.

Then of course is the fact that their coverage SUCKS. So, I end up calling people several times back because it would disconnect due to crappy coverage.

So.. I turned it off for awhile and refused to pay the bill for a couple months. I later paid it off and left the chip in my car phone. My latest bill came since then.

AED 0.00

I guess I didn't exceed my credit limit this time.


Dubai Blogger said...

i*maginate -- Didn't this person post some telemarketing survey? I think they work for Du.

First of all, who goes to another Emirate and decides they need a Sim card? The whole country is so small, why would you do that? You are at the beach and decide you want a new number???

Secondly, Du sucks as much as the other.

Jump ship. Have fun. When you only have two options regulated by the same people you will see only what you want to see.

If you have enough people using your number and business connected to it, you would not dare switch. If you have nothing but time and no friends I say switch daily.

But quit randomly calling people to have a chance at hearing a woman on the other end.


i*maginate said...

There seems to be just one person praising du but warning not to switch - hehe!

fellow atheist, that sux. I won't be switching now with so many complaints.

dubai_blogger, I don't work for any telecoms company - which telemarketing survey you referring to? Are you on drugs? I learned a new word "DOLT". FYI am not a man you retard, and reverse pyschology on your assumption I make prank calls to women: haha, that's prolly what you do. If some nutcase like you did that to me you'd be in the police station ;)

Now, I see from your really interesting blog that you are American (and assuming you are a professional at your age). This leads me to the conclusion you would have some kind of idea why it doesn't make sense to buy something in one branch of a NATIONAL company and not be able replace it in another.

Besides the point, if you can't think for yourself, there are many reasons why one might buy a SIM card in another emirate while residing in another.

a)you may have entered the country in another emirate
b)you just happen to be in another emirate when you decide to get a sim
c)your business/work might be based in another emirate and you bought a sim card there
d)you happen to be in another emirate while having your ass waxed and decide you want to buy a SIM card there
e)your girlf might be having an enlargement operation in another emirate, you've just arrived in the country and buy your SIM card in that place


Rose in Dubai said...

I*, the only reason I don't want people to switch is I'm probably their only customer so their service is pretty good! if they get more than 3 customers they be just as bad as the other lot!

nick said...

i*mag & rose,

My experience with du is limited to one incident but this incident lasted about ten days.

This is how long it took me to get our maid's phone to work after she had bought a new prepaid SIM and tried to recharge it and failed.

Firstly, the customer service didn't deign to respond for one entire day to our calls and never ever called back after we left nth messages.
Secondly, the du shop in Jumeira Plaza refused point blank to do anything about it when the maid went there by herself.
Thirdly, when my wife went to the same shop they gave her the ridiculous advice to go to the shop where the SIM card was bought to rectify the problem.
Fourthly, they eventually replaced the faulty SIM card and recharged the account after yours truly arrived red in the face at the said shop and jumped up and down for half an hour shouting unheard of things (by du staff) like service, technical fault, SERVICE!

The good thing is, it can only get better.

secretdubai said...

Forget MMS. The only person I have ever managed to send an MMS message to was myself, from my phone to my phone. I've tried three different handsets, all got the push settings from Etishite, but nothing has ever worked except just once when I managed to send a small photo back to myself.

I say forget MMS and wait for proper 3G.

i*maginate said...

*rose in dubai, OK then, have dodo all to yourself - I'm certainly not availing of their fantastic service: I'm staying with the e-boys because they really care about keeping me as a customer. No, really.

Btw I've been in conversations before where others question the real success of du by asking if I know anybody with a du number. It appears very, very few have made the switch. I had about 6 du numbers saved on my lost Eat sim card...and to get another sim card I have to trek all the way to a place I'd really rather not go.

*nick, this kind of experience is infuriating. My expectations are low anyway but sometimes it is impossible to tolerate such abysmal service and backward procedures. It's even worse when there is clearly no reassurance that if you make a complaint, it will be resolved, or even responded to. There seem to be so few organisations that do offer any kind of real value!

*SD I would rather deal with a company that knows what it's doing. Because of backward procedures I'm now left without a SIM until I find the time to travel back to the place I got it from. I don't suppose they can issue it at the other branch and send it over to the branch I'm at? Now that's an idea. Or is it too adventurous, I wonder.

The idea "we should stop issuing SIM replacements at any branch - customer must go to where they bought it from" is genius: modern, progressive and forward-thinking. Truly 21st century.

ammaro.com said...

i dont know whats going on, but back when i was in dubai (98-03) etisalat were great! i didnt have a SINGLE issue with them... from what i read here, it looks like they've managed to go down the drain in the years following...

i dont know about DU, but i see their ads on MBC4 and MBC2; i actually like them :) but i have no idea about the product, so sorry, no help there

Dido said...

I would say that Du's Advertising approach and work is amazing, but how bad is it when the service sucks on the other side :)

Check out the incident that i faced earlier, one of many that made me blog about it...


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