Consumers of Warid and Mobilink -two of Pakistan’s leading cellular services- complained of service issues following the merger of both telecommunication companies, it is learnt.
The consumers claimed that often when they made calls, their cell-phones responded with the ‘no network coverage’ message. Others reported issues in Short Message Service (SMS) of both cellular companies.
In July 2016, VimpelCom Ltd in a statement announced completion of the transaction to merge Pakistan Mobile Communication limited (Mobilink) and Warid Telecom (Warid). According to Vimpelcom’s CEO, the combined Mobilink and Warid entity will be the leading telecommunication provider of 2G, 3G and Long Term Evolution (LTE) services in Pakistan, providing higher quality national voice and data coverage, faster downloads, and a wider portfolio of products and services.
Talking to Pakistan Today, a consumer of Warid Telecom claimed that he was experiencing issues following the merger of the two cellular giants. “For the last two months, when I make calls, I receive a message of ‘no network coverage’ from the service provider”.
“I have to redial numbers repeatedly and it takes usually two to three minutes to get the line cleared for a call” complained a resident of Gulshan-e-Iqbal, maintaining that: “I am also receiving complaints of delayed landing of text messages from receivers.”
“I made a call to Warid Telecom helpline to report the problem of network coverage, and the company’s customer care officer informed me that Warid is shifting some numbers on Mobilink which was causing difficulty to its consumers,” a resident of Malir claimed. “Apologizing for the inconvenience, the officer asked me for the make and model of my cell-phone and told me that he was sending a message to me to reset network settings,” he said.
To verify consumers’ claims, when this scribe visited Warid Telecom Customer Care Centre located at Khayaban-e-Ittehad Phase-II, the company’s representatives told that if consumers were facing problems of network coverage then they could switch to Mobilink’s network to avoid problems in calling. “We [Warid Telecom] are shifting some of our customers on Mobilink, and that is the only reason that some of our customers are facing service issues these days,” she added.
“The issue will be resolved with the completion of the shifting process,” she argued. “With the merger, Warid customers can recharge their sims using a Mobilink card, and vice versa,” she added. Warid and Mobilink are now one family and you can use services of both companies at the same time,” she maintained.
When a call was made on the Warid Telecom helpline, the company’s Customer Care Officer (CCO) also presented a similar argument. However, Mobilink Assistant Manager Public Relations and Corporate Communication, Junaid Shafqat, rejected the claims of shifting of consumers.
“Though both cellular companies reached a merger agreement, there is no shifting of consumers is going on at this time,” he clarified.
Talking to Pakistan Today, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) expert Parvez Iftikhar said that the temporary problem could have surfaced in switching customers from one cellular service to another.
“If the network issues persist for a longer time, there could be other issues with the service, which the management didn’t want to share with its customers,” the ICT expert maintained.
“If the company’s [Warid Telecom] representatives are asking to shift to Mobilink where they are facing network issues, then it is the most convenient excuse,” Iftikhar claimed, reiterating that “There would be any other issue, and service provider is trying to attribute it to customers’ switching.”
“As per my information, no sharing of customers is going on between Warid and Mobilink after the merger agreement, but both telecom industry giants had allowed their customers the use of each other services,” the ICT expert added.