Dar es Salaam — Communications and Information Technology minister Faustine Ndugulile yesterday directed the Consumer Consultative Council of the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA-CCC) to address complaints by citizens against mobile phone service firms on alleged theft of their money over shortened calls.
The minister gave the directive when he met TCRA-CCC executives and members of the National Commission for Information and Communication Technology.
He wanted to familiarise himself with the performance of the bodies and how best they could help the government improve development of technology.
In November last year, independent lawyer Bashir Yakub posted an open letter headlined, ‘doubts in four mobile phone service companies’ on social media, complaining about shortened airtime bundles bought by their customers.
Speaking, Dr Ndugulile said, “I have decided to start with this issue because there are a lot complaints about services provided by mobile phone service providers, particularly in the area of airtime. “This is because customers complain about not being given enough airtime that matches with their money.
“All these complaints need answers as I do not expect that CCC will work through words or a business as usual style. We want to see statistics,” he said.
The minister also directed CCC, from now on, to keep complaint records it received from users of phone communication services and show how they work on them.
Body’s eExecutive secretary, Mary Msuya, admitted that there were many complaints against the firms and promised to implement the directives.
However, The Citizen sought statements over the matter from some public relations offices of the mobile phone service providers.
Jackson Mbando of Airtel Tanzania said that his firm was leading in the country in providing affordable services of call bundles.
“When TCRA issues its annual reports, our firm comes top on the list of providing cheap services. On the complaints, I think every customer buys bundles according to their money,” said Mr Mbando.
Vodacom Tanzania’s Communication head Jackline Materu said their phone call bundles lasted as per the value of the money paid.
“Every customer is supposed to see how they use their bundles. For example, when you use a 4G phone, your communications are of high quality as a photo of high quality is downloaded faster.
“We normally educate our customers about how to ensure their gadgets do not use too much data unnecessarily,” said Mr Materu.
Kurasini resident Allen Mangacha said the bundles problem needed to be fixed now.
“When we are constrained in communication, it is clear that these mobile phone service operators want us to get back to where were from,” alleged Mr Mangacha.
However, Merina Joseph, a city resident, lauded the government move of attempting to investigate the matter.