“We have added distinguished services to the postpaid packages, the most important of which is the advantage of using WhatsApp without data. Now, the customer can use the application without it affecting their data balance inside Qatar,” the official said on Qatar Radio.
He highlighted that now, Ooredoo is considered ‘one of the first telecommunications companies in the region to offer unlimited WhatsApp usage to its customers.
However, for the ‘unexpected’ and seemingly significant rise in prices, only one popular service was provided, free WhatsApp. While other addons were introduced, many customers have expressed how they have no interest in them and would rather lower subscription prices than benefits they don’t intend to use.
For the third time in two years, Ooredoo has also failed to give customers the option to decline the service in exchange for cheaper subscription costs. Now, customers are being asked to pay or give up the services they need, with less than a month’s notice given to prepare for the increase.
While Ooredoo failed to provide an explanation for the changes back then, Al Kuwari’s response still fails to provide clarity as to why the sudden increase or justify why customers have not been given an option to ‘opt out’.
“We provided the customer with the option, and we made it clear at the beginning of the year that on the first of February the packages will be modified, and they can see the features in the package and change the package without additional cost until the beginning of February. They can also upgrade or reduce the package.”
The Ooredoo executive added that the recent decision comes within a well-studied strategy by rationing the number of packages to suite the needs of the market and customers.
However, many customers are not happy with the prices given for the ‘new features they did not ask for’.
“This ‘added benefit’ you call should be optional. Stop FORCING us to pay for added services we never asked for,” one user wrote on social media.
قامت @OoredooQatar برفع الرسوم الشهرية على كافة باقات الشهري و قطرنا وأرسلت للعملاء رسائل نصية "للعلم فقط" بأن التعرفة الشهرية ستُطبق اعتبارًا من الأول من فبراير 2022
ماهو رأي وزارة الإتصالات ؟ @MCITQatar
وهيئة تنظيم الإتصالات ؟ @CRAqatar
— عبدالله الوذين (@abqatar) January 1, 2022
Ooredoo is also one of only two telecommunication service providers, so market competition in Qatar is weak, as customers have extremely limited options when it comes to telecommunication service providers.
In a bid to explain the limited package options available to customers, Al-Kuwari added that because Ooredoo has ‘no tendency’ to increase the number of packages to confuse the customer, it is better to use the availability of a small number of packages based on the customer’s needs’.