Sunday, October 3, 2010

STOP getting ripped off by Kuwaiti Mobile Phone companies!!!

For years now we have been getting swindled by mobile phone operators in Kuwait. We paid the heftiest charges among all the countries in the Middle East despite having more than one operator for the most part of 10 years. Coverage was at best average which in my book is very appalling considering the size of Kuwait and the straightforward topography. After a decade of paying for incoming calls, the arrival of VIVA saw the rest of the bunch allow incoming calls for free.

We thought this was the start of something new; a price war between the cell phone companies that would ultimately benefit the subscribers. But after a year for some reason there seems to be no fairness OR logic in the various promotions or schemes announced by either of these companies. To be honest, I don't count VIVA in this because they haven't been in the market long enough for me to commend or berate them. SO it's between Zain and Wataniya that we need to choose from. Which is the devil and which si the deep blue sea?

How does logic come into effect when their marketing team plans their strategy? I say this because I am a marketer myself and before I revise pricing, the first thing I would look at is the company's existing subscribers. How do they fit in the new pricing scheme? How will they benefit from it? I've had an eGo subscription for almost 2 years now and I bought the line when there was no special offer or anything of that sort on neither the device nor the subscription. On top of that, I paid a hefty amount for the device itself. After two years of being a loyal subscriber, I find out that they're doing promotions for new subscribers where they get a free device if they subscribe for one year. When I asked one of their customer services reps if I would get a special price on a new device and a reduction in my rate (since the new rates are KD 1.5 less than what I’m paying) the answer I got was a firm “I’m sorry sit but I can’t do that. It’s against the rule. You have to pay full price for the new device.”

Bastards! I would like to know who the freaking hell designs their promotion campaigs and who plans their marketing strategy. It’s insanely and cruelly absurd! Cell phone companies in the rest of the world reward you for being a long term customer and give you stuff either at discounted prices or for FREE. Here, I am being charged as though I am a newbie. Why would I want to stay a loyal customer? Are the mobile companies going to make any concessions that make sense in future or are they going to continue ripping us off?

Someone please make sense of this for me?!?!?!?!?!?


Anonymous said...

Rightly put. I have been living here since 2003 and it amazes me that two companies, now three including viva can take customers for a ride by overcharging them.

Personally I think they need to have some kind of regulatory body that monitors and controls the prices so that customers dont get ripped off and affected by bad pricing just like the hotels are doing it in Kuwait.

BarryUno said...

Hi Anon, I agree with you on the first point you’ve made. “Companies taking their customers for a ride” is actually putting it mildly considering what subscribers in Europe, North America and even developing countries like China and India get for their monies.

As for your second point and suggestion to have a regulatory body; I think that would be a step backwards. Although all three are fierce competitors, they compete very marginally. The hotels are doing it already through the cartel but that’s only helping them, not customers who pay exorbitant sums of money to stay at hotels and resorts that would cost half the price in other parts of the world including Dubai, Bahrain etc. with better amenities. Anyway, getting back to our discussion, hat the really need to do is have their marketing departments rethink the strategic plans and create a system for customer retention that includes incentivizing certain products and services to loyal customers etc. It shouldn’t take a lot of effort, all they need to do is replicate the plans of companies like Orange, Vodafone or T-Mobile.

Anonymous said...

Looks like Barry is going to give the Marketing & Strategy teams in Zain and Wataniya a crash course in pricing strategy! ;-) Way to go dude!

Rubick said...

Is there any way of stopping this legally?I dont think we will continue to be at the mercy of the mobile phone companies until someone does something about it.

But it is a good posting nonetheless barry so keep on posting & we'll be here to back u up.

BarryUno said...

I was at the BBF Intro to Kuwait Forum and manages to catch one fo the sales guys at Zain at their booth so what did I do? I asked him very politely if there was a solution to my problem. He checks the system to see if I have a one year commitment, informs me that I don't despite being:

1 - told that I did when I signed up for the contract over 2 years ago,
2 - an eGo customer for more than 2 years!

I feel frustrated....and tired of harping over the same thing. What do I have to do to get my point across?

Anonymous said...

And you thought that loyalty pays in Kuwait?

Every company is opportunist and will dump the old for the new.

BarryUno said...

Actually, funny you made that comment q8life, especially since word is out that mobile numbers will soon be portable in Kuwait and we'll be able to switch service providers without the need to change numbers soon!

I hope this will change things for customers!