Ethio telecom, the sole provider of telecom service in Ethiopia has introduced changes to voucher card denominations and air time services amid customer’s concerns. The telecom monopoly came up with voucher cards that cost the client from as low as five birr to as high as 1000 birr. It has also made readjustments to the time an account is active for.
Now customers have more options to choose from when buying prepaid mobile cards. New denominations of five, ten, 250, 500 and 1,000 birr are now available. Although the ultra cheap five birr option is not available yet it is expected to hit the market within weeks.
The suspension period has increased from seven to 15 days. It means if a client’s air time expires for instance today, they are now entitled to receive incoming calls for 15 days as opposed to the previous seven.
The disabled period has also increased from 30 days to 90. In the past, the service provider used to terminate the service after 30 days if the customer was unable to refill its account and the client was required to pay again for the price of the Sim Card in order to regain the mobile service.
The client’s active period has been reduced from three years to four months. The time span a client can make outgoing and receive incoming calls has also been reduced from a maximum of three years to four months. The maximum value of a voucher card a client can charge to an account used to be 3,000 birr with an expiry time of a maximum of three years. The amount of money a client can charge to its account has been raised to 10,000 birr while an expiry date is reduced to four months.
The voucher card’s expiration time varies depending on the price of the card. In most cases the card expires in a manner in which the price paid represents the expiry date up to one hundred birr. For all those denomination greater than 100 birr, it lasts 120 days.
It has been close to eight months since French Telecom Company, Orange, took over the management of the newly reestablished ethio telecom in December 2010 in a bid to ensure service quality and competitiveness. However, clients are still complaining about service quality just as it was with the former Ethiopian telecommunication Corporation. Even customers are being allegedly being over charged. Capital proved this inconsistency, on July 04, 2011, a man received a message of apology which read “ dear customer, your account was over charged last Wednesday [29/06/2011] by mistake and will be credited back before next Monday[04/07/2011]. Please accept our apologies.”
The company has over 10.3 million prepaid and 75,534 post paid mobile subscribers. This represents 12.2 percent of overall mobile service delivery to a population over eighty million.