The Qtel-Vodafone rivalry has taken an interesting twist with the former accusing the latter of hosting an event at the weekend that ‘ran counter to the traditional business culture of Qatar’.
Vodafone held a graduation ceremony of its trainees in a hotel here late on Thursday evening where one of the activities was entitled ‘Bye Bye Qtel, Hello Vodafone’ in which some 250 trainees let off their Qtel SIM cards with balloons.
The participants, including some senior Vodafone officials, were dressed in casuals and some even wore ‘funny-looking’ dresses.
In a statement issued yesterday, Qtel, avoiding any mention of specific activities and statements made at the Vodafone event, criticised its competitor for indulging in what it said was negative campaigning and attack marketing.
“Qtel has pledged to avoid resorting to such tactics, which caused surprise and offense across a large section of the community, and has affirmed that the real competition will be demonstrated in the area of products and services, and not in the area of negative campaigning and attack marketing,” the release said.
Contacted for comment, a senior Vodafone official said: “I have nothing to say…we were celebrating the graduation of our trainees…It was a big day for us.”
“We want to lift the quality of our services and want more and more people to use Vodafone,” he said when asked about the trainees letting off their Qtel SIM cards with balloons.
Interestingly, the official lifted his phone that had Qtel number and gave his Vodafone contact number when reminded of it. He said he had yet to get the Qtel mobile disconnected.
The Qtel statement added: “We have pledged that, as the leader in the Qatar telecommunications market, we will continue to compete by delivering the highest levels of service and product innovation to our customers, and not resort to negative campaigning of one of its competitors.”
The pledge, said Qtel, was made after a furious response by people in Qatar who were upset by media coverage of a Vodafone Qatar event on Thursday night, where it appeared that the new entrant to the market made a number of inappropriate statements and hosted activities that ran counter to the traditional business culture of Qatar.
Although Qtel has welcomed the new entrant, based on its support for the liberalisation of the communications sector for the benefit of the country and customers, the company was surprised at the statements and slogans launched by the competitor, said the statement.
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