ALL of us – the phone users – have one complaint or another against Our Telekom, the telecommunication carrier that largely controls the multi-million dollar a year market in Solomon Islands.
Its monopoly is undisputed. Its services are substandard. Its costs are phenomenally high.
In some cases one can be forgiven for suggesting that the costs for its services are somewhat prohibitive in comparison to the cost of similar services in other neighbouring Pacific Island countries.
Here’s what I found out just yesterday.
It astounded me. I was making a call on my mobile yesterday when a recorded message automatically came on my phone to say that my call could not be forwarded as the called party had insufficient credit.
I was angry, dumbfounded. Until then I had always thought that double dipping was only confined to human beings trying to maximise his or her takings. Now it is Our Telekom jumping on the bandwagon.
Our Telekom, what you are doing is simply wrong. It’s double charging. First, it was my call. I paid for the call.
Our Telekom is merely a facilitator of a pre-paid service. The called party is not responsible for the cost. It was my cost.
Our Telekom, what you are doing is not only wrong but utterly wrong. By introducing the new charge, you are in effect selling the same item twice. That’s morally wrong. That’s greed.
Our Telekom is already racking in millions of dollars every day without even improving the service to clients. Take for example the number of call drops on the mobile network that one experiences it every day. Yet they cannot fix it.
It costs me heaps to call back and be reconnected. Does Our Telekom realize that? Or does it not matter because they are thriving on the goodwill and loyalty of customers?
Or drive along the Prince Philip Highway or down towards White River – how many times did you lose the called party and that you had to redial the number.
In some areas even in town there was hardly a reception at all. Then you have the problem of the capacity of Our Telekom to adequately carry traffic during the day.
And now Our Telekom has turned to subscribers and ask them to pay twice for a service that isn’t up to scratch?
Any decent thinking person would expect Our Telekom to plough some of the money they get from us into improving their services.
It is obvious they are not doing it.
Instead, they are engaged in what is clearly intended for one and one reason only: Profit.
Maximising profit at the expense of providing a reliable service for a country struggling to survive is not service at all. It is profiteering.
Our Telekom needs to lift its game.
There are other issues that Our Telekom ought to consider. What if there’s an emergency and the called party does not have credit to enable Our Telekom to forward the in-coming call?
And how does Our Telekom know if a call is or is not of an emergency nature? Who will then be responsible for what happened next?
As a good corporate citizen that it is, Our Telekom should be giving its clients a reason to remain with the network in spite of what might happen to the telecommunication industry in this country in the future.
I am talking here about a de-regulated industry which would allow competition.
All the reasons it has given us thus far were intended in my view to drive customers away.
I am hoping that Our Telekom reconsiders its decision on the double dipping service it has just introduced.
Double charging for the same service is nothing more or less than daylight robbery.
The Banks are doing it, now Our Telekom has jumped on the bank wagon to be like everyone else.
By Afred Sasako