About 2 months ago, I sent an email to a long list of recipients, most of them, people who works in MCMC, associated with MCMC and some of them who work with the Telcos.
In my email, I stated and these are my exact words:
“Network and Coverage related issue have been a headache for Telcos and consumers for two decades now. With 5G just around the corner, even more extensive mobile coverage are required.”
“I honestly understand the problems that Telcos are facing when it comes to coverage but consumers should also be treated fairly.
“I am proposing a new mobile network guideline for the mobile operators and consumers. This guideline is about how the mobile Telcos will deal with network and coverage related issues.”
The truth is, MCMC and the Telcos are well aware of these issues —-Poor Coverage, Slow Internet, Service Disruptions —- these are nothing new. But until today, these issues are yet to be properly addressed. Telcos are not held responsible for network outages and poor services while MCMC don’t seem to have any strict guidelines on how these issues are handled.
My email was about dealing with these mobile network issues, and treat consumers fairly.
Unfortunately, no one really listened, and it fell on deaf ears.
The Consumer Forum Malaysia (CFM) 2017 report reveals that issues related to Network, Unfair Practices, Service Delivery are among the top 5 complaints from Consumers.
Complaints related to network are generally difficult to resolve especially if its a poor/zero coverage. To set up a new base station for mobile coverage, it could take at least 3 months and sometimes up to 2 years. This why network complaints are generally marked as resolved with no further action needed (And MCMC proudly claims that they resolved the complaint).
This is wrong.
If a customer made a complaint regarding poor network coverage (especially at their registered address), the Telco must give that customer an explanation and a timeline on where a new coverage might be deployed. If the customer can’t agree to this, then the Telco must allow the customer to port to a different service provider or offer compensation (explained below) until the coverage issue is resolved.
While we, consumers, are forced to pay up our mobile phone bills, why aren’t Telcos forced to provide a good service that is acceptable to consumers? Just read the Facebook page of the Telcos and we could see tons of complaints everyday.
Below, I wrote a simple guideline for MCMC and Telcos to implement and address the current problems. I believe, these guidelines would be fair for Consumers, MCMC and the Telcos:
Blindspot- For areas which are considered a blindspot (zero coverage), the Telco must inform the customers on the estimated time to fix the problem. This information will then be shared with MCMC for record purposes.
Signal Loss (due to obstruction, tower take down)- Notify customer (based on registered address) of an estimated timeline for coverage. Inform them of MNP (Mobile Number Portability).
No Coverage- ETA to deploy new base station, customers (based on registered address) must be informed. Telcos to voluntary offer compensation in terms of monthly rebate or free Internet data if the issue takes over 3-months to resolve.
MCMC USP Fund- MCMC to disclose coverage map on where the Universal Service Provision (USP) towers have been built. Also reveal the planned locations of new towers will be deployed. This map will be available on the MCMC website.
MCMC Coverage Map- MCMC will acknowledge and list down areas with blindspot or zero coverage. This coverage map will be available on the MCMC website.
New Customer Sign up- Telcos to inform new customers if their registered address may not be located within coverage area or if customers may not enjoy a good mobile experience. Customers who wish to sign up despite knowing there’s poor/no coverage at their registered address must sign a consent form verifying that they are aware of this.
Network Coverage Map- Telco should keep their coverage map up to date and signal measurement must be based on actual peak hour experience. 4G LTE coverage should be measured at -98dBm. Telco should also differentiate coverage measurement for outdoor and indoor coverage. For indoor coverage, the Telcos should list down the buildings with indoor coverage solutions. The list and coverage map must be updated at least once every 3 weeks.
Unplanned Service Disruption- Customers who complained about service disruption (unplanned) must be compensated by the Telco. Compensation could be in the form of monthly fee rebate or free mobile services such as Internet, voice minutes, free credit, etc.
Network Maintenance- Telcos must inform customers on planned network maintenance activity 48 hours prior to commencement. Customers can be informed via email, sms or notification via the Telco app. In the event where customers are not notified, this would be considered an unplanned service disruption and affected customers must be compensated in terms of rebates or value added services.
In the past, Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh has said that he wants all Malaysians to enjoy a World Class Internet service.
Dear YB, we don’t need world class service for now, we only want to be treated fairly. Are these too much to ask?