Friday, April 24, 2015

Globe Telecom's Failure to Connect

Until the late 1990's there was only one telephone company in the Philippines, Philippine Long Distance Teleophone aka PLDT, which controlled all phone services both local and long distance here . As a result of this monopoly, phone communications in the this country were abysmal. Just obtaining a land line usually meant a wait of several months. Phone use itself was beset with problems such as dial tones outages, poor
reception,dropped calls, and obsolete equipment.

When the market for this utility was opened up to other players, telephone availability and service improved  especially with the explosive growth in popularity of cell phones. However  mobile phone service providers themselves can also often be unresponsive to or inept in addressing customer complaints, or they make promotion offers that they don't keep. In both these areas, I've had unresolved issues, specifically with Globe Telecom through whom my wife Lydia and I have prepaid service for our mobile phones.

A few months ago I received a message from Globe requesting my participation in a  customer survey, the reward for which was supposed to be  one day of unlimited free calls. But when I completed the survey questionnaire, Globe failed to live up to its end of the deal. I pursued the issue for some time and out of frustration finally settled for a P25 addition to my prepaid load.

However, the biggest problem with Globe was their inability to fix a loss of the load status retrieval service on Lydia's phone. This function is normally a simple process of creating the message "Bal"and then sending to 222 or alternatively to *143#. But she could no longer get a reply when entering these codes.

So as per Globe's recommendation, through a process of elimination she determined that there was no problem with her SIM card which was originally thought to be the source of the malfunction, and therefore the cause must be either the phone itself or  with the Globe network. As it turned out, it was the latter:  When we placed a SIM card from another service provider, SMART Communications, into her phone and executed the load amount request function from that network, it worked just fine. I apprised Globe of this outcome, and they promised to resolve the matter once and for all within one week but after several weeks and more of their unfulfilled assurances, we gave up. Lydia permanently switched her unit to SMART. However, In doing so, of course this meant a change in phone number and all the inconveniences and hassles which accompany that process. But the alternative of using a prepaid  cellphone without knowing the remaining load balance means the likelihood of an unexpected zero balance service cutoff in the middle of a call or text. And who needs that kind of stress?   

Perhaps Globe was just telling us what we wanted to hear all along , which is a practice in Philippine culture,  and had no intention of taking care of our complaint.  At any rate, their claim of advanced state of the art prowess is meaningless  hype if at the end of the day they cannot deliver reliable customer service to their subscribers.