The end of Qtel monopoly era in Qatar and the start of competition…..yiiihaa… Good news for customer! We still need to wait quite sometime to have excellent service by Vodafone, due to infrastructure. In addition, the slight price difference will not cause any mass customer switch, I believe. I incline personnally to wait another year for things to settle.
Vodafone’s mobile service is now open to Qatar residents as the country’s second service provider has set up an “online store” for providing connections.
Vodafone Qatar has also announced the national voice and SMS, international voice and SMS and MMS and mobile Internet rates.
The mobile service provider has designed a “flexi plan”, which gives customers ‘bonus value’ and free “Vodafone minutes”. Qataris and residents can now choose from four plans ranging from Flexi 110, which costs QR110, to Flexi 550 (QR550).
Currently, customers can buy these only online, using approved credit or debit card.
“Flexi” can be used for all local and international calling, SMS, Roaming and Mobile Internet. Customers will pay one single rate for local calls and one single rate for international calls.
Vodafone rate card shows that national voice calls will be charged at Dh50 a minute and national SMS at Dh40 per message.
International voice calls will be charged at QR2.50 a minute, regardless of the time and place of calling. This means, users will be charged at the same rate for calls to Dubai and the US. International SMS comes at Dh60 and MMS Dh80 per message.
Vodafone customers will have mobile Internet connection at QR10 per MB.
As an introductory offer, Vodafone customers can reserve “their own number” for free under the My Number facility. Customers gain QR500 when they pick “their own number” under the My Number facility during the promotion. However, this facility is available only through the Vodafone online store for a limited period.
Vodafone Qatar chief executive officer Grahame Maher said the service provider had achieved a milestone by commercially launching the mobile service within a year of its getting licence in the country.
“Today we are opening our online store at www.vodafone.com.qa where anyone can buy our services. Our network is ready to take on any number of customers and capable of providing world-scale services for which Vodafone has been well-known. We have total coverage in Qatar now, supported by adequate number of radio sites,” Maher said.
Vodafone Qatar had turned on its mobile network on March 1. Since then, “first customers”’ have been joining Vodafone Qatar – such as the “1st 1,000” whose feedback helped the service provider build its network, Maher said.
“The Vodafone team is very proud and excited that everyone in Qatar can now jump into the exciting new world of Vodafone. People in Qatar finally have the freedom to choose. Vodafone is offering fantastic value to customers and joining us is easy and convenient. A big and warm welcome to all our customers who are now choosing to join us,” Maher said.
Vodafone Qatar chief marketing officer Michael Portz said a new customer would receive a “welcome pack”, which includes everything that was required to get the service started. The welcome pack has been priced at QR50.
“Customers simply insert their new SIM card into their handsets and can immediately start talking. Home delivery of the “welcome pack” will be free during our current online promotion,” Portz said.
He said: “With Vodafone, Flexi customers will always get much more than they paid for. Every Flexi plan is packed with bonus value and loads of free Vodafone minutes. Vodafone’s customers will get up to 68% more with Flexi.”
Portz said Vodafone had set up an online account “Freedom”, which enables customers to remain connected and have total control over their spending.
“Freedom is the new monthly way to pay for Vodafone’s plans and products. A Freedom account is very easy to set up and gets paid automatically from a customer’s credit card or bank account,” Portz said.
He said Vodafone would start opening retail stores by the month-end. At that time customers can choose more packages, including Flexi 35 (QR35) and Flexi 55 (QR55). (Gulf Times, 7 July 2009)