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Ghana Telecom, Vodafone/Vodafail and Moi meme

The year 2008 saw my using the then Ghana Telecoms Broadband wireless for three years.  The wireless service was my lifeline to the outside world for voice and data.  December 2008 and all of a sudden my internet stopped working.  I contacted Ghana Telecom and was told that the service was being discontinued.
WHAT?!!!  Just like that, servers had been turned off and the wireless service disconnected and with not a single word to me.  No one had called to inform us of this, not a single flyer had been seen when we went to pay our bill at the Care 4u centre and they could not have picked a worse time to do this.
December of 2008, I lost my grandfather and wanting to plan his funeral within a space of a month, it was imperative that I contact family outside to inform them of the passing and to make arrangements for them to either make donations or show up for the burial.  An easy thing to do when you have a skype phone with paid subscription, no?  Definitely not when your internet is switched off and you cannot access skype.  So I called to complain.  I was informed that all customers who were on the wireless service were to visit the Care4u centres to pick up GPRS Modems.  These were supposed to be a temporary internet service for us cherished customers until they brought in another wireless service.  It took weeks of calling and visiting the centre and complaining before I was given a GPRS modem which FAILED.  It was extremely slow, kept failing to dial up, and yet, all the same, in the space of 5 days the 80 cedis allocated to me was gone.

Of course, I called to complain and demanded to talk to someone in charge.  The care provider I spoke to was trying to hedge, telling me I should simply come in and pay for a top up.  I said to her, ” What the hell makes you people think that after paying 65 cedis a month for internet, that ANYONE would be interested in a service that would waste 80 in 5 days?!!!”  I went on to (and quite forcefully too)  inform her of the fact that I’d not been informed of this, that I’d been led to believe this GPRS modem was going to function just as my old service had and that I was extremely unhappy with the fact that I could not keep all three of my machines online at once.
After her shedding tears and still refusing to let me speak to her supervisor, I called once more and expressed my displeasure, making it clear that I was not alone in my then distaste for their service and that I was going to call up the radio stations and write a scathing review to the editors of several newspapers.  I also threatened to sue, and made sure the agent was aware that if I was to do so, several of my equally disgruntled friends would follow suit.  Just like that and I was on the phone with the area manager that I’d been chasing about for weeks.  Within a week, we had a landline installed (in an area where we’d been told they’d run out of numbers and the reason why we went with the wireless service in the first place)  two weeks later we had internet.  Just in time for me to call up my brothers and tell them how beautiful and befitting a burial the Ghana Veterans Association had given Grandad.  Way to go GT……  
So now I have a landline and I have a broadband4u residential package.  I pay 65 cedis a month for what they tell me is 256kb/s but I know it is shared and no matter how many computers I have connected at a time, I run at less than 100kb/s.  (We know how to run speed tests people!!!!  we can check these things!)  So, lousy speeds, poor customer service, I was oh so ready to go to ZAIN.  What stopped me?  The fact that with Ghana Telecom, I had UNLIMITED service.  NO matter how slow it was, if I could still download my movies.  I was willing to forgive them if I could keep my desktop on all day connected to the skype phone so I could make and receive calls to the USA.  ZAIN offers faster speeds (up to 7.2mb/s and caps at 8GB.  At least this was true when I spoke to them last)  and their wireless routers can connect to up to 34 computers.  I simply figured, I don’t have 34 computers, I already own 3 wireless devices, 2 of which are Professional access points and allow me to better protect my wireless networks…perhaps I should stay put and see how things go.
By this time it was clear that Vodafone was here to stay and I thought that the service might get a bit better.  Sure, I was still losing my connection from time to time but I was still able to read my online comics and join my friends in the UK and other countries for a game of Age of Empires 3.  Rushing home from work on Monday nights to join my Brains Required group on IMVU  for our weekly Topic Night meant hours online talking about this current topic and that and paying witness to views from around the world.  I thought it was simply wonderful.

I should have known that it was too good to be true. Even though the customer care agents seem smarter and make it a point to try to appease clients, it seems to me that the PR department is still in need of a makover.  Why, you ask?
Because Vodafone (in this case vodafail) has done it again.  They have decided to go ahead and introduce a tariff plan without informing their clients.  I heard about the introduction of their plans through a Facebook Group. No flyers were handed out.  No care representative spoke to me when I went to pay my bill for the month.  No one called my house, passed by and there’s nothing in my post office box to inform me of such an exercise.  Just as the time the wireless service was turned off, I had once again been left out of the loop of people to be informed about changes to a service I had been paying for.  Same company, different name.  It seems to me that NOTHING has changed.
Vodafone is offering it’s Residential Broadband4u users 512kb/s speed at 65 cedis a month with a 10GB cap.  Upon expending your allotted 10GB, you will be required to pay another 65 smackeroos for another 10GB  and it goes on and on and on.  Knowing how heavy my bandwidth use is, especially when I’ve rushed to meet my deadlines and have ample free time to partake in my hobbies (online guitar lessons being one of them)  I seriously doubt the sanity of sticking to this service.  Best to simply go offline and use my phone to check facebook and such.  No more blogging, no more stimulating discussions with people around the world and definitely no more Gaming. 
I checked with Vodafone UK and it turns out that Vodafone UK offers its home users this package for their broadband

  • Superfast broadband connection (up to 8Mb) with unlimited usage
     
  • Inclusive calls to UK landlines any time
  • 25% off calls to UK mobiles
     
  • FREE UK-based telephone support 24/7
     
  • Broadband modem and microfilters included all for £14 per month.  

Yes people, the 8Mb mentioned is actually 8mb/s.  There is NO capping.  I would like to know why it is that the Ghanaian populace is being treated so differently from the subscribers in the UK.  This is unfair treatment as far as I am concerned.  According to the group from facebook who met with vodafone officials, the capping system is to serve as a deterrent to those who abuse the bandwidth.  I am looking for someone who will explain to me what they mean by abuse of bandwidth.  According to vodafone, about 5% of its Ghanaian users abuse the service.  I wonder, should the rest of us suffer for their misdeeds?  Am I one of those abusers?  Well, I can’t tell as I have not had clarification on this.  What I understand of bandwidth abuse is stealing wireless internet from people who fail to secure their networks.  I fail to see how capping will prevent people from stealing my internet.  There has to be a better explanation.
Bottom line, I am extremely unhappy with vodafone and insist that Ghanaians are being treated unfairly.  Vodafone needs to do it’s research properly and act accordingly.  We’re a struggling nation and cannot afford to throw money away.  If they made their services less expensive and more worthwhile, then perhaps we’d be more eager to dispense with our well earned cash, but I for one, with a meagre salary and a huge family, plans of graduate school and such will NOT be sticking around if they do not arrange something better and faster.
You may find these to be of interest:
David Ajao on Phone Networks in Ghana
David on Zain vs MTN
Ghana Business News on Vodafone in Africa
~Daixy~

Comments

comments

7 Comments

  1. ah, diaxy i feel you waaa. lol. i think they taking advantage of the Ghanaian always leaving problems to God (fa ma nyame). Its really absurd the way they take us for granted. i always say its also because we dont have the culture of litigation and no serious consumer protection agency, thus they just walk over us like some old rug. i was also pissed when i saw the uk vodafail deal they gave the uk customers. they were paying less for unlimited bandwith plus loads of goodies. whilst we paid more for a limited bandwith , nkwasiasem! who misuses bandwidth more than them out there. you will even noticed they had a small footnote cautioning customers to be prudent in their usage. why cant they stick to the unlimited and also caution the ghanaian users? cos we dont yell, shout and protest right? i think things are changing now hence the usage of facebook to bring to light this atrocity! aluta continua!

    January 1, 2010
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  2. Well said sister daixy! If most Ghanaian can stop begging-pleading-crying approaches to situations like these and find one voice, maybe people will listen and take us a bit more serious! Are you in Ghana right now? if so please find a law advisor so we know what options we have(legally) to stop these vampires.
    Trying to open a dialogue according to sources I’ve read with these vodafail suckers out of frustration wont work TRUST ME!, we are smarter than that. Let’s go by the books first to explore what options we have, then we can do the marching! Good read Ralph.

    January 2, 2010
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  3. Eugh you won’t believe it. I called voda to ask why my net hadn’t been working since thursday night and the customer care agent mentioned my name when I hadn’t given it to him.

    Yes people, VODAPHONE has me flagged lol. I guess the two agents I spoke to this week weren’t happy. So, I’m well on my way to being infamous. My mom will be so proud. She always wanted a rabble rouser for a daughter ROFL.

    @ Bilal, I think my raised voice and demands to speak to someone in authority are what got me flagged. Seems they finally had one customer who wouldn’t take any nonsense. Sad thing is, my dad is being complacent. Seems he will stay there cuz he doesn’t want to pay extra. I am explaining to him that he’ll be paying more anyways lol. This is the trouble most people will have. Kids will have to explain to their folks about bandwidth and such and get them to go off the service. But at least they know now that some people are unhappy n’ est pas?

    @Ralph, I am tracking down my lawyer friends right now and looking into what steps we can take. I do not want to spearhead anything. I am more the type to work in the shadows. WIll let y’ all know on here what they say though (probably let them log on and leave the answers themselves)

    calling 101 for their broadband technicians takes forever. Was on for an hour today and no one picked up. Basically, nothing from vodafone works as it should. I figure they should fix their services before making changes that affect us so drastically.

    Buying a ZAIN modem this week for use on a laptop be loaned to me. Voda told me I’ve used 3.6GB since i paid my bill on the 21st of december. This is even when i’ve been offline. Seems to me that the 10GB cap will be BS for me LOL

    tried sending this at 5:30pm. It’s 7:27pm and I hope this time it will go through

    January 2, 2010
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  4. $Li
    $Li

    um…not done. word count limit. here we go:
    in a lot of senses, the way they do business is similar to vodafone in the uk, or any other ISP. the more you pay, the better the service. or the faster the service. or you get a customer service rep with nicer legs, except you probably wouldn’t know, so you just settle for a more friendly one. anyway, it shouldn’t surprise you that, they can decide to cap your usage, because at the end of the day, the fact that vodafone or zain or anyone else in ghana who peddles their crap to ghanaians is an ISP is an illusion. they are clients of ISPs themselves, and if you check your gateway settings, you should be able to learn that quite quickly. ghana is one big home or office and your house is one big computer. you getting a nice router that supplies a wireless signal to your 32 laptops, your blackberry and your baby brother’s psp is like taking that one ethernet cable sent to your computer, making a splitter and powering all the little gadgets at your desk. in fact, a lot of the tech people who come to your house to solve problems, or those that get hysterical when you call them, will tell you that your broadband service is for a single computer. and since they pay for the bandwidth they use (and they’re not paying the ghanaian government, in fact there’s no web-traffic regulation in ghana, as far as i can tell), it makes sense to them to cap the bandwidth of individual users, and put up with the complaining from the few people who actually notice that their use has been capped, because at the end of the day, they are more interested in profiting from the cellular market. providing a broadband service is just a means of making a little extra money. the people who really need more than 10Gb for their porn are GCB, GIA and KPOGAS ( am i being a bit presumptuous here?) and they can pay whatever you throw at them. and there are still enough customers willing to pay the extra 65 cedis whenever they go over their allowance so they can get more porn, or because they want you to know that they can afford it. in short, ghanaians are not yet in a place where they can complain about the crap nature of internet service and the lack of information, because there aren’t as many ghanaians online as there are chop bar and trotro connoisseurs. until that happens, i suggest you win the lottery, or call up your uncle. you know, the one that owns KPOGAS?

    January 10, 2010
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  5. Goodness $Li….I have to say Bravo lol. I don’t know why I wasn’t notified of your comment. Thank Goodness I stopped by this post. Gosh you had a lot to say and boy, did it all make perfect sense. Thanks so much for taking the time to comment 🙂

    I think we’re going to have to get used to getting the short end of the stick eh? That or get a new government that will stop trying to blast its nonexistent achievments and actualy get down to brass tacks.

    I’ve never played the lottery game. Most I’ve done is BINGO on a militay facility on the USA and I doubt I’m gonna be flying out to play any time soon. Although I did work at the DNL (Department of National Lotteries) for a while and I always got at least three numbers correct. Maybe I should look into that 😉

    It’s unfortunate that I’m not tight with my uncle at KPOGAS. I’d probably hit him up for a well paying job. Silly me, my pride stops me from asking for help from family members who have never made themselves available in the past. I doubt they’ll be jumping to assist lol.

    On a bighter note, the facebook group was able to o something about the capping. They got a 100% increase on it. So I will now have 20GB. I wonder if it’ll be enough. Monitoring this month to see how it goes.

    January 27, 2010
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  6. Anonymous
    Anonymous

    Dear Daixy,
    Yes, vodafone disappoints….again and again. If one considers internet access as the plumbing of the 21rst century, we’re still stuck with open culverts, leaky pipes, and weak, thin bandwidth.
    H.Yao

    March 2, 2010
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  7. Thanks for dropping by Yao Yes, Vodafone disappoints and probably will continue to do so. I see NO improvement in their services and can’t wait till I have the time to devote to telling them exactly what I think of them every day of their existence, until they make the necessary changes in their service.

    If we’re to be stuck with outdated services, then I’d rather we go back to being plain old Ghana telecom and blame our inadequacies on our own incompetence. Having so called professionals on board and still having to deal with nonsense is, in my opinion, unforgivable. I can try to understand them on some levels but the service being meted out now? Codswallop!!!

    March 7, 2010
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