Telecom operators challenge ICT minister, describe remarks as 'provocative' [Jordan Times, Amman]
(Jordan Times, The Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Oct. 28--AMMAN -- Telecom operators on Sunday said ICT Minister Azzam Sleit's remarks that the quality of services they provide is "unacceptable" are unscientific and provocative, but some mobile and Internet users agreed with the minister.
Insisting that the performance of telecom networks in the Kingdom exceeds that of other countries in the region, Zain Jordan, Umniah and Jordan Telecom Group/Orange cited reports issued by the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC) indicating that quality of services in the sector is "very high".
In a recent meeting with the press, Sleit said the current level of services provided by telecom operators is unsatisfactory, and the authorities will start taking measures to force them to enhance quality.
"The quality of telecom services should be improved. We all suffer because of the [bad] quality at present," said the minister.
Zain Jordan CEO Ahmad Hanandeh said Sleit's comments were unscientific.
"These claims are personal beliefs and not based on scientific studies. Jordan is the second highest competitive market... one of the lowest in telecom prices and one of the best in quality in the world," he tweeted.
"The government's remarks are provocative, illogical, merely personal opinion and are misleading to the public," Hanandeh charged.
Omar Omoush, director of marketing at Umniah, said the dropped calls rate in Jordan is the lowest in the region and that telecom operators, including Umniah, heavily invest in networks to meet an increasing demand on data and voice services.
"The remarks are exaggerated and unscientific. An opinion of one person is insufficient to label the quality of telecom services as bad," Omoush told The Jordan Times over the phone on Sunday.
"Official reports commend the quality of telecom services, unlike what the minister says," he noted.
Raslan Deiranieh, chief financial officer at Jordan Telecom Group/Orange, said the quality of telecom devices in Jordan beats that of other countries in the Middle East.
"The minister's comment is subjective. Services in Jordan are in line with best practices and international standards," he said.
"The quality of networks in Jordan is the best in the region, and one comment by one person cannot hide the fact that there have been great achievements in the sector, whose contribution to the economy is on the rise," Deiranieh added.
A TRC report on the quality of telecom services by the end of 2012 showed that the availability of networks was high among all operators, and that the rate of dropped calls was lower than the accepted standard.
In terms of dropped calls, Zain Jordan registered 0.31 per cent, Umniah 0.33 per cent and Orange Jordan 0.37 per cent, according to the TRC report, which indicated that the minimum average rate for this indicator is 2 per cent.
In terms of network availability, Umniah registered 99.99 per cent, Zain Jordan registered 99.98 per cent, and Orange Jordan registered 99.85 per cent, according to the report.
When it comes to success in delivering messages to recipients, Zain Jordan registered 99.97 per cent, Orange Jordan 99.06 per cent and Umniah 98.10 per cent.
The average time needed to respond to incoming calls to customer services centres was 28.33 seconds for Umniah, 31.83 seconds for Zain Jordan, and 51.33 seconds for Orange Jordan.
Despite companies' insistence that the quality of telecom services in Jordan is "high and better than the rest of the region", some mobile users disagreed and complained about repeated disruption in calls and weak Internet downloads.
"Every day, when I make a local or an international phone call to family or friends, I experience disruptions, especially at night. I think the quality of services deteriorated. It was better four years ago," Omar Sabre, a university student, told The Jordan Times over the phone.
"I pay about JD9 per month for my mobile subscription to get free minutes and one gigabyte of Internet downloads, and I am not satisfied with both," the 20-year-old said.
"The Internet connection is very slow on my iPhone, and sometimes, I do not get access to the network," he added.
Ahmad Hazaimeh, a student at the University of Jordan, agreed with Sabre.
"My father and I went to one of the telecom companies to subscribe for its Internet service. First, we subscribed to a bundle that provides a speed of two megabits per second and a 7.5 gigabyte download per month for JD19.5. This was okay," he said.
"Two months later, the company said they have an offer that provides a speed of up to 21 megabits per second and downloads up to 15 gigabytes per month in return for JD30, so we switched to this bundle, but the speed was never as high as agreed," Hazaimeh added.
When he complained, the company sent a technical team to check on the Internet speed.
"The team told me the speed up to 21 megabits is not available in the area where I live, and I am now stuck with this company because I have a contract for a whole year," Hazaimeh added.
"Why didn't they tell me in the first place that the area where I live is not covered with higher speeds, or is it that they just want to collect money? This is bad treatment and the quality of service is unacceptable."
(c)2013 the Jordan Times (Amman, Jordan)
Visit the Jordan Times (Amman, Jordan) at www.jordantimes.com
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