Where we stay we do not have access to any Telkom infrastructure, and were forced to make use of 3G products. We happily paid the over inflated 3G prices, seeing that the quality of service was quite acceptable. Last year October however our connectivity took a serious dip. At present we have no connectivity. We are paying almost R900/mo for an uncapped service that cannot open email or even a local news site.
We at first thought it must be our equipmeTNnt. We were using a Planet 3G router for almost 1 year then, and thought it might be time to replace it. We then opted for a very expensive Mikrotik solution. Still no improvement. We then purchased a booster aerial. Still no luck. R5k poorer and still nothing!
Our service has now gone from bad to worse and is impacting on our work, and we are forced to work longer hours. When the problem started, we found that from 7PM every evening we have little to no connectivity. Today, if we are able to establish a connection, the speed is much worse than a 56k dial-up. Our voice quality has also dropped significantly, and most of our calls are being dropped. Last week I had to call a customer back 9 times on a 3 minute call.
Most of the time it is a battle getting through to competent technical support staff, when you call the mobile operators. We have spent countless hours on the phone with clueless technicians.
After lodging two complaints on http://www.hellopeter.com we finally got a response. This is the final result:
We have done drive tests in the area, and found that the signal levels are very low, especially on 3G. As per attached correspondence , it does not look like we can improve coverage in this area.
Complaint #1 : http://www.hellopeter.com/autopage/c...n-existant-tec...
Complaint #2 : http://www.hellopeter.com/autopage/c...adation-734813
Our reality is that we rely on connectivity to earn a living, and without no connectivity, there is no income.
We are not being unreasonable here: We did not go out and buy all this stuff to use in some area where there wasn't any signal and now supposedly sit with buyers remorse. No, we were actually happy customers until the MTN tower broke in Paarl. We know this, because a consultant from a company called Bytes, was hired by MTN to investigate the issue, and he told us there is a problem. We also have the Google Latitude logs to prove it.
Just to make matters much much worse, my family suffered a terrible personal loss because of this. Last week (and now if this was America I would have sued) Thursday, we were forced to drive out to our office after hours, due to the lack of internet once-again. We went home just after 5PM to check on our pets. Left about 15mins later. We came back 3 hours later to a heart-breaking sight. Our boston terrier, Pogo was bitten by a snake, and by the time we found him it was too late. We rushed him to the vet, but he sadly passed away in my arms on our way to the vet. Struggling to get a call through with 3 phones, all on a bad MTN signal - imagine the words I have for these people.
If we had the same connectivity as we did last year October, then we would have stayed home - because it was only emails we needed to respond to. And even if our dog found a snake in the garden, we might have been in a position to save his life.
I am slowly getting fed up with the poor technology service in this country. Large profit hungry foreign corporations bleed us dry, while they do not accept the responsibility for providing the service - which only they are licensed for.
With the privilege comes a responsibility. I have now seen first hand what happens when these careless operators are allowed to run wild without consequence.