Customers voice frustration over poor telecom services
Big enterprise customers including embassies, money transferring agents and other companies whose engagements are mainly dependant on the internet and related services voiced anger and frustration at Ethio Telecom’s services. The customers railed against the weak telecom service in the country, particularly the internet, which the state-owned sole telecom service provider in the country “never expected,” according to sources who attended Ethio-Telecom’s Second Enterprise Customers’ Day.
Ethio Telecom organized the event at Addis Ababa Hilton on Wednesday, which drew around 350 participants from foreign missions, money transferring agencies, the African Union (AU), the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and the Addis Ababa City Administration.
While some of the participants limited their comments to the need for the improvement of the telecom service in the country in general to allow them to efficiently execute their undertakings, other enterprise customers including money transferring agencies and embassies said they are frustrated with the telecom service, particularly the poor quality of internet service.
The sluggish internet service in the country has forced major enterprises such as the Ethiopian Shipping Lines and Ethiopian Airlines to resort to other, yet costly options, after the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology (MICT) granted permission to companies that run internet-dependant operations to acquire and use VSAT (Very Small Aperture Terminals).
Some months earlier, the ministry had issued a directive allowing companies which are dependent on the internet and those working in remote areas of the country where there is no access to the internet to use VSATs, Debretsion Gebremichael (PhD), minister of MICT, said. The Ministry gave the go ahead for the use of VSATs in the wake of complaints from companies whose operations had been affected by frequent disruption to internet connection and downtimes, sources said on condition of anonymity. The VSAT system mainly uses satellites and is slower than the broadband service, which uses fibre optics, the latest technology in the telecom sector.
Companies which acquire VSATs are obliged to use the technology to run their own operation, and are not allowed to give service, to third parties employing the VSATs, according to the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology.