Touch’s Network Not Working & No Fix In Sight

You’d be kidding yourself if you said you could live without your phone nowadays. Now imagine that you had full reception and thought there was nothing wrong with your phone… except people had been trying to call you for hours and all they got was a busy signal or line blocked notification.

I’m not a Touch user. But a friend of mine is one of the many Touch users affected. And her story is one that needs to be told, hopefully someone out there decides to expedite attempts to fix the problem, if any attempts are actually underway.

Here is the story.

2 months ago, several people tried to call my friend’s phone only to get a signal that her line was off. However, she wasn’t notified of any calls even though her phone was active, 3G and all. It wasn’t a constant problem, it would appear sporadically and she didn’t know about it until the people that tried calling her met up with her in person.

She then called Touch’s support center. The employee decided that it was a problem with her brand new iPhone 5. I guess blaming the phone is the way to go. So in order to make sure it wasn’t a sim-card issue, she went ahead and replaced it with a nano sim straight out of Touch, hoping it was cutting the sim part that posed the problem. The employee there said it will definitely solve her problem.

Things were working for a while. It could have been the nano sim or that no one reported problems trying to contact her. The trouble-free duration lasted for a week. So when she started having trouble again, she decided to visit the Touch center again and went through several supervisors, the last of which told her the following:

  • It was a problem they’ve been having for the past 3 months and they didn’t know about it if it weren’t for the huge amount of complaints they received.
  • It doesn’t affect all Touch customers (she gave a 40% figure) and is device independent, meaning the iPhone 5 is not to blame.
  • The supervisor automatically assumed my friend is jobless and told her that other people with jobs have it worse. Because your phone matters are only important if you have a job.
  • When asked what my friend can do to fix it, the supervisor suggested to try calling someone every two hours in order to keep her line “registered” on the network. Then keep doing as such every two hours.
  • When asked if Alfa is having such issues, the supervisor said she doesn’t know. What she knows is that her network is affected.
  • When asked when the issue will be fixed, she said: we don’t know.
  • How is it acceptable for such a problem to be taking place for over 3 months with no fix in sight on Lebanon’s biggest network, I don’t know.

    Lebanon’s Upcoming New 3G Plans

    Minister of telecommunications Nicolas Sehnaoui alluded to a possible upgrade of Lebanon’s current mobile data bundles on Twitter last week.

    Nicolas Sehnaoui 3G upgradeAs a result, this is how Lebanon’s 3G plans will be:

    Lebanon 3G upgrade 2013

    I asked the minister on Twitter about a timeframe for these upgrades. He didn’t reply. However, I personally expect such upgrades to be implemented quite soon, possibly before April which is when 4G LTE will have become commercially available (link).

    The caps, when upgraded, will become comparable with abroad. However, we still have a long, long way to go until we can compare our mobile sector with abroad.

    For comparison purposes, during my stay in France I had a subscription with mobile operator Free. For €19 per month, I got the following:

    • Unlimited texts and MMS within France.
    • Unlimited calls to numbers within France.
    • Unlimited calls to non-mobile numbers in 40 countries around the world.
    • Unlimited mobile data caps. Speed throttled after consumption of 3GB. (The speed I got on average was about 3Mbps.)
    • Unlimited access to Free’s Wifi hotspots whenever available – and they were available almost everywhere.

    A lot of unlimited there, right? Will we ever see such plans in Lebanon? Honestly, I don’t think so.


    MTC Touch Ramadan Offer (Unlimited Calls after Iftar): Big Fail!

    It started with that ridiculous marketing campaign they called “In My New World.”

    I thought it would be about them introducing new services. It turned out about them rebranding. MTC Touch decided to drop the part of their name people use to call the company. They lost the MTC and kept the “Touch” and that made perfect sense to them. I guess we should have taken that as a sign.

    MTC decided to offer its subscribers something cool for Ramadan. They get to choose one number which they would be able to call for free after Iftar, throughout the month of Ramadan.

    The concept of anything unlimited when it comes to phones in Lebanon is so appealing that many MTC customers jumped on the offer the day Ramadan started.

    And behold, a few days later some of them get the following SMS notifying them that they cannot be offered the service because maximum capacity has been reached.

    Thank you Twitter user @JessyBechara for the picture

    Technically, they aren’t lying. Some of my friends who tried the offer reported horrible service: either the network was busy all the time or they got disconnected more than once during the phone call they were attempting to make and ended up giving up on. So for all matters and purposes, maximum capacity was reached.

    However, is that even an acceptable excuse to offer a service so heavily advertised to some users and not for others? Why didn’t they mention it’s a first-come first-served basis which it turned out to be? Even that wouldn’t be acceptable.

    Either offer a service to all your users or don’t offer it at all. If you know for a fact that your infrastructure is beyond horrible,  which I believe MTC Touch knows, then simply don’t flaunt anything unlimited to your customers until you can own up to it and offer it to all customers. Mesh neis bsamne w neis bzeit. 


    Didn’t MTC Touch even consider in its plans that people would jump on the offer? If not, then they seriously need new people in charge of all their departments. If they knew their network would be overloaded and they still went with the offer, then that shows exactly how little they care about their customers. Again, not surprising.

    “In My New World,” dear MTC Touch Lebanon, when I’m offered a service, I get it. Maybe you should have used that approach in your campaign?