News : Ooredoo Signs Up Users, But Complaints Surge
August 19, 2014 -- Ooredoo Myanmar has sold many SIM cards since the soft launch of its service here early this month, though technicians at the foreign telecom provider in Myanmar admit their 3G network has yet to cover all townships in the country’s largest city, Yangon.
They said that 70 per cent of the SIM cards have been sold in Yangon and the rest in Mandalay and Nay Pyi Taw, as the company races to add more transmission towers.
The company plans to have millions of SIM cards on the market by the end of the year, they said, declining, however, to provide forecasts about how many would be sold. The technicians spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorised to speak to the media.
The company has yet to release official data on the number of its subscribers or forecasts, and it is only offering a 3G service which means that its access will be limited until it adds more transmission towers.
The sales, intended to pre-empt the launch of a service by Telenor Myanmar next month, have sparked complaints from some customers. They say the service remains inaccessible in some areas of Yangon, including heavily populated areas, and that its Internet packages are too expensive.
Some cartoonists have even mocked the service on social media due to their inability to access it. "I live in Kyauk Myaung so I can’t use Ooredoo services," cartoonist Awpikyae said.
One customer said the signal was not available in Mayangone Township’s Kabaraye and Chaw Dwin Gone wards. "When I called the call centre, they said there were not enough telecommunication towers set up in Kabar Aye so the signal strength was poor," the customer said, adding that it was inconvenient for customers that the network was not citywide. The signal is also weak Kyauk Myaung and Yankin townships, customers said.
Ooredoo sources admitted that "there are still big areas in Yangon with no coverage" and that these included sections of the downtown.
Some users say that despite Ooredoo’s promotions that describe its service as "high definition" it is difficult to hear what people are saying over the network, and that calls are frequently cancelled. "Calls to numbers on MPT SIM cards from my Ooredoo number have been cut off as soon as I say ‘hello’ eight times," one customer said. "They charged me Ks 35 even though the calls lasted only a second. I don’t mind paying the bill, but they should give better service," one Ooredoo user from South Dagon said, adding that he was not expecting to be charged merely to say "hello".
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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