Expectations from telecom giant Vodafone remain high, though it will only go for a soft launch in March. Mobile phone users in Qatar expect the company to bring more facilities, better service and lower prices.
Only 1,000 customers will be picked by Vodafone for its two month limited trial service. Vodafone is likely to enter the market in full swing only in May, which is a long period since it won Qatar’s second mobile telecommunications license in December 2007.
However, customer expectations from Vodafone, the world’s largest mobile phone company by sales, still remains elevated. A cross-section of people The Peninsula spoke to about the delay and launch of Vodafone, said they are looking forward for better service.
Competition will definitely improve services, said Suhaib Rashid, a Pakistani student in Doha.
“Vodafone is making everyone’s hopes high. Qtel is making many changes as they know Vodafone is coming here soon. Vodafone is a strong company and they will definitely try to give better offers to customers. Qtel too knows this and I hope there will be tough competition between the companies, which will lead to a good customer service,” he said. Rashid assumes Vodafone’s trial service for 1000 customers in March will help to get the feedback, work out the problems and have a good service.
“The challenge to make people accept the new brand will be there despite high expectations,” said Adam Nujent, an Australian resident.
“Our expectations from Vodafone are very high. I’m rally waiting for it to arrive in town and start operations. It’s good to have several mobile companies so customers can have a choice. They would have to compete with Qtel, which is in the market for a long time. Vodafone will have the challenge of making people accept the change. Because every one cannot be convinced with something new,” he said. “Talk of Vodafone coming to Qatar started some months ago, but it’s yet to arrive. Now they have said there will be a test launch in March. However, I see it as a good sign, so they can start the service with proper facilities to the customers. Vodafone is a high profile company in UK and hope they will give us a better service here,” said N P Jameel, a Sri Lankan resident here.
Thawfeek Abdulah, a Tunisian looking forward eagerly for the launch said, “Its good Vodafone is coming, hope the delay will for a complete launch will bring a better service. It would be great if they can introduce good internet facilities. Having several telecommunication providers is also a good sign and I’m really looking forward for it.”
Belmar Wagayan, an employee of New Doha International Airport feels it’s untimely to speak on Vodafone as it’s yet to enter the market, “It’s so early to comment right now because we don’t know yet how Vodafone would perform. If Vodafone gives us better offers, we may switch to Vodafone. But for sure Vodafone’s entry in the telecommunications scene would make customer service better. If there’s competition, there’s a tendency to have lower charges,” he said
AP Manikanthan, General Manager of Fal Travel Mart, Travel and Tours is expecting high dividends with the entry of a second player in Qatar’s telecom market. Manikanthan believes that the entry of Vodafone, Qtel will be forced to make a paradigm shift from its present billing system. “As of now, Qtel has a system of ‘One-Minute-Billing.’ Customers have to pay for two minute’s charge if their calls run into one second past one minute. This is not the case in other countries, including in UAE. The billing in these countries is based on ‘seconds.’ With the entry of Vodafone, Qtel will be forced to introduce the ‘seconds-based’ billing, which would bring major benefit to the customers,” he feels.
Cris Nieto, a Filipino resident said, “I think the entry of Vodafone would definitely create some noise since people go for what’s in and new. At the same time they look for high quality services. Though Qtel has some good offers already, if Vodafone gives services better than Qtel, then there’s a big possibility for people to avail of such.”
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