TelOne ADSL subscribers angry over abrupt disconnections

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TelOne LogoIrate ADSL subscribers around the country have been contacting us to express their anger with TelOne over ADSL internet disconnections that started about 3 weeks ago. The disconnections are part of the TelOne’s migration to a prepaid platform that we first wrote about here on 2 November. The company announced around the end of October via print press adverts that starting November they would migrate all ADSL subscribers to a prepaid billing platform.

It appears however that a lot of their customers didn’t see the announcement and found the disconnections rather sudden. An official announcement in the press today says that all ADSL broadband customers were migrated to the new system on the 27th of October 2012. For some strange reason however, most subscribers were still able to access ADSL services well into late November until they were abruptly disconnected seemingly for no apparent reason.

One subscriber wrote to us:

I’m writing to you as a frustrated ADSL customer and I know I’m one of many disgruntled ADSL customers. I was at the Highlands office this morning and there was havoc.
Over the weekend, many customers got cut off without notice even if your account was up to date. They are then forcing everyone to “top up” whether you have an outstanding balance or not.

This is the message (which I’ve attached to the e mail). How can you also “refuel” if there is no way to do so online?

The attachment in question contained the following message:

Another subscriber wrote:

Monday this week thousands of adsl subscribers at TelOne was cut off as the agency unannounced to its users decided to change to pre-paid.

Everybody then had to scramble to TelOne office and pay – but for most of us it took most of Monday to realise that this was the problem.
they said: “oh but we did advertise it in the paper (THE paper?). But I guess very few people saw it”

Other complaints were also posted to the original article we posted on the billing system changeover.

We contacted TelOne but could not get them to say just how serious the issue was. Some contacts at the organisation though defended the organisation saying that customers complaining were mainly those that were not up to date with their ADSL payments, some by as much as 6 months.

TelOne, an organisation owned by the government, is Zimbabwe’s sole fixed line operator. The company has instituted a monopoly on ADSL services and so far provides the lowest priced and one of most stable broadband internet locally. So far the company is bundling ADSL broadband and fixed telephony forcing would be ADSL subscribers to buy telephone services as a prerequisite.

Have you been adversely affected by this changeover?  Please share your experience in the comments.

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  • Spectrum

    You bet we were (are) adversely affected. As noted, few understood that the advert meant “pay extra or get cut off” and were happy as long as you felt you were up to date. As usual, no email warning e.g “in 5 days time” or something but they zapped all clients on the same day. And are now surprised clients are pissed off to queue for hours to pay on already settled account. Which we did and still waiting to be reconnected. Umax here I come!

  • http://www.facebook.com/shepherd.nhongo Shepherd Nhongo

    Prepaid ADSL :-)

    Touch is a MOVE, followed by PUNISHMENT plus gOOd move. That’s how customers are treated.Why didn’t they email or SMS clients or have popups thrown to customers two months or a month earlier. The reason why people get internet is because they want to get rid of all papers & manual processes. Literally TelOne seams to mean, Tell One Customer & you expect all to know the word on the street & press hahaha

  • Spectrum

    I should add we are on uncapped so it should mean nichts to us whether they start capping users who are or not

  • allen

    no pay, no play :D

  • http://twitter.com/SirNige Sir Nigel

    Just left a rather long queue to pay for the November bill AND prepay the December bill at once.A huge financial hit :-(

  • Mwalimu

    Just from paying my pre-paid bill for December. This was my experience…. Go to the enquiries counter and obtain a balance of what you owe before this pre-paid was introduced. Then bring the information to the cashier together with December $$$ and the $$$ owing. So I get to the enquiries office along Main Street in Bulawayo. There is a long queue there. I wait my turn. After 30 minutes I get to enter the door from the street. There are 4 chairs where customers are seated. There is only one lady serving customers. Most of the time she is on the phone answering calls from call in customers. The call in customers seem to have priority over the walking customers!!! I am thinking to my self why don’t I go outside and phone in to get faster service! Well I wait. More calls are put through by whoever is the operator hidden somewhere away and we wait. 20 minutes later the 3 guys ahead of me are served. In comes my turn. As she is answering the next call I quickly scribble in large letters my account number and balance = ?. She quickly accesses her computer screen while still on the phone and writes my balance and I survive!!! Off to the cashiers. The queue is now almost outside along Leopold Takawira (Byo). The guard looks at my balding head and ushers me to the senior citizens queue. Relieved I go to the shorter queue.

  • General Pancho Villa

    I am one of those affected by this, just noticed this afternoon that i could not access my internet. Why advertise it in the paper? They should have advised us through the statements they sent us.

  • kunta kinte

    Paid prepayment and next thing disconnected. when i went there and asked why they didnt even use our emails or phones to update us like other players. The guys laughed and said tiri government body dont expect too much!!!

  • Bob

    Same here, was on uncapped plus I had been paying one month in advance to avoid this kind of thing. Got cut off anyway.

  • http://www.facebook.com/konstantinos.kostalas Konstantinos Kostalas

    These guys have absolutely no idea of what customer service means. Prepay what when they DON’T send out the bloody bills to their customers. MONOPOLY, NO COMPETITION, VERY HIGH RATES, VERY SLOW CONNECTION SPEEDS, EXTREMELY UNRELIABLE.

  • mabhanditi

    VERY HIGH RATES, VERY SLOW CONNECTION SPEEDS, EXTREMELY UNRELIABLE.

    Bashing just for the sake of bashing only harms the points you’re trying to put across.

    my experience and I’m sure that of many here is that the rates are very low. ridiculously low comapred to their compaetition. Their connections are also very stable and reasonably faster than I used to get from ZOL, YoAfrica, Mweb, Africom Africaonline etc…

  • tinm@n

    …The guys laughed and said tiri government body dont expect too much!!!

    Did they really say that or are you just adding spice? You would say that observing, in the third person but I dont believe an employee would actually say that. They offer a crap service but let’s avoid sensationalism.