Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Fluffikins the Phone Company

Fluffikins the Phone Company will be offering state-of-the-art equipmentConflicting reports in some of today's papers. Emirates Today says the new telco will not be competing on price. 6Days says it will. Whatever. Having seen the stream of drivel emanating from the TRA ever since it was established, it is clear that the main thing that telecoms users want (prices on a par with the rest of the world) will not come easily. The main reason for this is the 50% profits surcharge that both companies must pay to the Government. Even though the Government is already a major shareholder in both companies and presumably gets a dividend from the profits.

The imaginatively named Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company has a great opportunity here. I hope they don't blow it. I hope they will listen to what consumers say they want, and convince the TRA to let them do it. So here's my wishlist:

Significantly lower prices for everything.

Great customer service: counter staff who are trained to treat customers as deities rather than potential criminals.

Lots of small offices in convenient locations (I could not believe how many high street shops the likes of Vodafone, Orange, T-Mobile and Virgin have in the UK - and no queues). And/or lots of payment machines that accept payment for everything.

Serious reduction in red tape. If irrelevant rubbish like tenancy contracts and passport copies going back three generations is required at all, then these things are recorded once and are never needed again. It's a phone company, not a branch of the Secret Service.

A coherent PR strategy that does not treat customers like morons, and does not lie to them.

Did I mention lower prices?

Deposit-free international roaming.

Optional proxy for Interweb access.

And a nice fluffy food-based brand image like Apple, Orange or Egg. Cheese, Banana, Shawarma. Something like that.

Not much to ask, is it? Fluffikins the Phone Company is expecting to start services in the latter half of 2006. They have a daunting task ahead of them, but I wish them the best of luck, I really do. They're gonna need it.

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