By our staff reporter
Mobile Networking is a widely spread out technology that has managed to cover most parts of the country, besides some remote places that haven’t been covered due to their geographical position. Ethio Telecom has indeed managed to provide unparalleled service where a vast quantitative approach is concerned. However, the quality of this service is highly questionable, as reaching some people on the phone has become hardly possible, through the networking provided.
Users, especially in the capital city, are usually heard complaining about the poor quality of the mobile network that displays weak or no service at all. The supposed receiver of the call is mostly said to be “out of reach” or that the phone is currently “switched off” when, most of the time, the phone is actually in a perfectly working condition. This problem that seems to be triggering frustration for individual customers and businesses isn’t the only impediment that is observed these days.
“It’s been two days since I last recharged my phone’s account. I bought a fifty birr mobile card but due to the poor network quality, my account hasn’t recharge properly. I can’t make phone calls because the operator keeps telling me that I have a low account balance and I need to recharge if I want to use my phone, even though I have not used the fifty birr yet” said a very discontented customer.
Another customer added, “I have a small business and it is essential that I go from place to place to acquire the goods for my shop. Had the network been more reliable, I would have ordered the things I needed by making a simple phone call and would have had more time to attend to my shop.”
This goes to show how individual customers and businesses are being affected due to the poor network quality that is currently observed. The idea of globalization, although recent, is a fast growing phenomena in the country, and there are notable if not many, users of the Internet these days. These users claim that it is essential that they stay connected to the outside world by acquiring information through social networks and media. However, the slow connection rate and the amount of payment demanded per use has become an impediment to this aspiration.
“I use facebook for thirty minutes on my phone and my account balance diminishes from ten birr to four birr and twenty cents. I don’t know the exact rate of payment per minute because there are times when I had to pay less for the same amount of time of use,” says another frequent social media customer.
Encumbrances such as the fee fluctuations mentioned above are surprisingly a formative problem among many that hardly seem to know the amount of charge per use. There are indeed times where different amounts of fees are reduced from the charged balance for the same amount of uses. This should be acknowledged by the Ethio Telecom, who need to either explain the different charges per same service, create a uniform fee set for the same services.
It should be kept in mind that this problem is indeed happening in the capital of Ethiopia, which also serves as headquarter for many international organizations and also hosts international events. The city also has many institutions that depend on a reliable networking system for their mere existence. It should be also acknowledged that, besides the impediments that poor networking serves for residents of the town, it is also bad for the image the city has as a political center of the continent. Ethio Telecom should focus on quality of network as much as it focuses on the fair distribution of networking systems throughout the country. It should also make a much more intense controlling effort on crimes involving fiber cuts. These crimes entailed a vast loss of mobile service last February and this should be stopped before it becomes a problem yet again.