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Wednesday, October 25, 2006


Qtel has just posted profit growth of 33%. (See
Gulf Times story). Customers of the monopoly may not be as happy as its shareholders.

Qtel is expensive. ADSL starts at 200 riyals (over $50) a month. Installation costs a fortune. International rates are outrageous.

Qtel quote: “International calls at a price you can afford”. Presumably addressed to Bill Gates.

Qtel’s service should be excellent at the prices it charges. Yet the internet is slow and sometimes stops, its staff are unhelpful and crossed lines seem to be a daily occurrence. Bills are frequently wrong, and virtually impossible to get sorted.

Qtel is that strangest of things – a telephone company you have to visit in person if you want to get anything done. In fact, it sometimes seems to have more offices then telephones. And those offices are a giggle. They have a reception desk (i.e. your first queue of the day) to hand out application forms that could go in a rack, and give the same information, day in and day out, that could on a notice or in a leaflet.

And, when you finally get your telephone line, can you have ADSL? No, no, no! You have to wait two weeks. Which means that one engineer will visit your house to put in a phone socket, then two weeks later another engineer will visit to take out that socket, and put in an internet and phone socket. Self-install is, of course, unheard of – or rather, un-thought of.

In fact, Qtel looks suspiciously like a job creation and patronage scheme. The last people it appears to care about are its customers, despite the torrent of customer-friendly PR puff that comes out of it. This was really brought home to me while waiting outside a Qtel office. Although it was officially opening time, they were having a PR shoot inside. To avoid looking at the irate people tapping on the glass doors, all the staff turned their backs on the customers and looked inwards.

Qtel loves to boast about its rising profits. However, while it’s not hard to make money when there is no competition, it is hard to please your customers. But why should they care – they’re a monopoly!

Don’t get us wrong. We’re very fond of Qatar, and are impressed with many of the changes this forward-looking and moderate government has been making. But we still hate Qtel!

Also see Qtel incurs customers’ ire on Eid

Update (7/11/06) - the Emir has today abolished Qtels monopoly over the telecommunications sector. Hooray! See: Emir quashes Qtel monopoly.

Also See:

Qtel and Telephones in Qatar: Practical Information

Mobile Phones in Qatar

Another Qtel rant