Simple Changes ETHIO Telecom Should Consider – Part I

There are many simple but important things ETC cannot see. Recently, ETC got a new management with a new name. I believe that they made the right move to change ETC’s name which is full of bad reputation. Though I seriously doubt what the France telecom will bring forth. I started to give up after seeing their half year performance.

In this article, I want to address few changes what Ethio Telecom needs to consider.

Mobile Top up

Topping up is not an easy task. Dialing 904 and you need to listen to the operator to talk. Press 1 for top up. This can be tedious. Listening to the operator and top up from scratch card. As many mobile phones support ‘pause’ function, it is at least possible to dial 904p1p [charge number].

Possible solution: Configuring the sever to accept top ups simply by typing 904#1#[charge number]. A better alternative could be, instead of having one service number for both topping up and other services (e.g check the balance), they can use 904 for top up (i.e 904# [charge number]). They can assign other number for checking the balance. In this case, you can only call the number and don’t need to listen to the operator. Either the charge is successful or not can be displayed in the screen or SMS-ed.

3G Top up

Topping up the CDMA or EVDO is even worse than mobile top up. Dialing 903 and the operator asked for language option (1 for Amharic and 2 for English). After that the top up procedure continues. Dial 903 – 1 – 1 # – [service number] # – [charge number] # 1. To check the balance: Dial 903 – 1 – 2 # [service number] # – [Pin Number].

Possible solution: sending sms to a dedicated number (can also be 903) contains [service number]# [ charge number]. To check the balance, the pin number is always #000000. They can simply take this out. Alternative solution can be, #905#[service number]. Then, the balance can simply be displayed in the screen.

Scratch Card Design

People make mistakes when they typed the charging number while listening to the operator. The scratch card’s design is so bad that I don’t remember the time I could manage to charge my mobile in the first try.

Imagine, in the third try, your mobile number will be locked and you have to go to ETC’s office to unlock it. No, you have to go to ETC’s regional office where you got your mobile number to unlock it. This simple design can overcome this problem.

This one is even better

There are many rooms of improvement from Ethio telecom side. I will come back with other simple solutions which will make Ethio Telecom a better service provider. The best one is still to privatize it!

21 comments

  1. sukersays · January 27, 2011

    very true about the mobile card, and how it should be written.
    Some problem that i have been encountering lately, well actually, it never happened to me but happened to my mother 3 times!… u buy a brand new card and it says it doesn’t work… we went to tele and all, they say try it after a week… we do, and nothin… what are we supposed to do after that? jus lose our money like that? cuz they always say theres nothing they can do…

    another thing that bugs me is when i used to fill in my EVDO card, u have to fill in 450 and its always 4 X 100 and 1 X 50… so thats 5 times. and every time u fill in your service number, she repeats it back which is sooooooo annoying… shes like the number you’ve entered is… 2 5 1 1 1….. soooo aggravating.

    3rd problem, i can almost never use my CDMA card… i dont know y! it has sufficient credit… so what the hell is the problem? i bought it over 4 months ago, but i’ve only used it like 2-3 times, because i can never find service…

    so thank you for raising this issue. lets do something about it.🙂

    • eweket · January 27, 2011

      it is absolutely true. For EVDO, they need to have at least 300 birr scratch cards. If you didn’t fill up card for two months, you have to put about 900 Birr… that’s like inserting all this long characters 9 times. thanks for the comment, Sara!

      • sukersays · July 4, 2011

        I’m so happy I saw it!!!

  2. Heiko · January 27, 2011

    Hello,

    really good article. Not only critics – combined with practical approaches to solve the definitely existing problems. Thumps up and pls keep us informed.

  3. Endalk · January 31, 2011

    I really liked this article! Lots of suffers while we recharge our accounts and it is nice if they accept the solutions you suggested them.
    Endalk

  4. Yohannes Yilma · July 4, 2011

    Good job Mark..

    Joe.

  5. nebiyou · July 5, 2011

    well engede, hasab listehena.
    i was at MCIT meeting last week with my new office, doing mobile communications and stuff, USSD is already integrated via the billing system, meaning now u can check on the ZTE numbers (0910,12,13 …) using the *804# you can check your balance, using *805# you can fill your credit, one of the top up solutions you are coming up.
    they are about to acquire an e-voucher for billing and USSD gateway, both would help you transfer the airtime on your phone and even use it as your mobile cash, you can use it any time you want. USSD’s feature would be to give you location based services, lets say you want clinics or hospitals on bole road, when ever you are at bole, you can do like this *clinic# then it would list them to you.

    best regards
    your mobile architect

    • eweket · July 5, 2011

      Nebiyou, this is interesting! I need to test them all. thanks for the info, my mobile architect

    • besisu · July 29, 2011

      nebiyou … do you know if Ethio Telecom has sms gateway? Where you can send an email to a number (for example: 0911######@ethionet.et), and that cell phone receives it as sms/text message.

      Please let me know if anyone is aware

      • abel · August 1, 2012

        Hello…Besisu…i was wondering if you got have the sms gateway?
        i wanted to incorporate smsing to a project am working on…and i can find the sms gateway…please if you do let me know…it would be great help to me….my email is abel.adam6@gmail.com

    • abel · August 1, 2012

      Nebiyou…please tell us the sms gateway for ethio telecom…

  6. Mengesha · February 9, 2012

    It is surprising tat ethio telecom has now sent an SMS saying that answering service can be obtained by paying a monthly fee of 49 Brr. WHY do I have to pay the company when it is obvious that I am creating even more business opportunity. This is as follows: If for some reason I connect to the answering machine, during the time of my connection any one who would be calling me will be redirected to the answering machine. That will be chagred by the company because of my connection to the answering machine. Then I am now abe to make calls and get addresses from the machine. I would call many of such addresses. This is also an additional income to the company. If there was no answering machine there would be a dead mobile phone of mine that is switchied and no business will have been possible.

    Please give it a trial period of say two months and then do your analysis.

    The other point is the payment of bills. You can use the banks and your mobile system so that we will pay without getting off our seat. MANY MORE!!

    It is better to let it out than to gossip. If I am wrong I am willing to learn.

    Bye

  7. Mengesha · February 9, 2012

    It is surprising tat ethio telecom (the company) has now sent an SMS saying that answering service can be obtained by paying a monthly fee of 49 Birr. WHY do I have to pay the company when it is obvious that I am creating even more business opportunity. This is as follows: If for some reason I connect to the answering machine, during the time of my connection anyone who would be calling me will be redirected to the answering machine. That will be charged by the company because of my connection to the answering machine. Then I am now able to make calls and get addresses from the machine. I would call many of such addresses. This is also an additional income to the company. If there was no answering machine there would be a dead mobile phone of mine that is switched and no business will have been possible.

    With regards to payment of bills we honestly are very tired to leave our jobs and come to your collection centers while you can simply use the banks and your mobile system to let us pay without having to leave our desk. This is true particularly when fuel prices are so high. We would also avoid the long queue and many more…

    It is better to let it go than to gossip. Please teach us if we are wrong.

  8. Pingback: Citizen Media and You – Part I « eweket
  9. David Kirba · February 21, 2012

    Looks like Ethio Telecom took your advice!

    • eweket · February 21, 2012

      Actually yes, was too hard to see?

  10. Antonio Magaia · February 26, 2012

    You know, I used to say ‘Why doesn’t ETC do like evey other mobile operator when it comes to topping up – like you suggested above. They indeed introduced this new top up system, but I couldn’t top up more than 300 birr on my mobile in one full month because the system simply declined the top ups (I usually to top up about 400 birr a week for international calls), then I really wished the old TEDIOUS system was reinstated. I can’t imagine money ETC lost during the initial period of the new top up system.
    One thing that could also ease the epileptic 7×100 top up repetition for my EVDO is, instead of just using the recharge vouchers sold by ETC, the company could allow people to buy any amount of top up and be issued one single printed receipt/voucher with a recharge PIN number that is generated when the receipt is printed, with the PIN corresponding to the exact amount of airtime purchased.

  11. Arthur Roth · November 7, 2012

    If you have an email address for me to contact Ethio Telecom I would appreciate it. Otherwise maybe you can answer my question. ታዲያስ Hello, My name is Arthur Roth. I am planning my fourth trip to Ethiopia in Two years. I will be in the Turmi, SNNPR, part of Ethiopia in the very south. I know that earlier this year there was some mobile service in that area. I am coming for four months this time and bringing my cell phone from the United States. The bands that it operates on are
    2G Network GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 – SIM 1 & SIM 2
    3G Network HSDPA 850 / 1900
    I can not find what bands you operate on. I seem to remember some person telling me you only have 2G coverage in that area and that it is GSM900. It seems that my phone will operate there if I get an Ethionet sim card. Is that correct? And how do I get a sim card for four months?

    • eweket · November 7, 2012

      As you can see here the Ethio telecom don’t have contact emails –

      http://www.ethiotelecom.et/contactus/general.php

      The last time when i was in South (more than a year ago), there was at least 60% of mobile coverage at that area. i don’t know the current status. Turmi might be a big difficult to access. If you bring unlocked SIM card, it is possible to use Ethiopian SIM card. Only around Addis Ababa has 3G coverage.

      You can buy a SIM card from tele centers. It is better to arrange this when you are in Addis before traveling to the south. All you need is a copy of your passport and 2 pictures.

      hope it helps

  12. Arthur Roth · November 7, 2012

    Thank you for the information. I am bringing an international phone with dual sims. I hope it works. I went three months earlier this year in Turmi without any communication so if I had to I could go four months this time. I am working on translating the Hamar language into English. As far as the anthropologists have told me no one has ever finished it before. The Hamar youth are starting to go to school but they do not speak either Amharic not English which are the languages taught in school. BUT, the teachers do not speak Hamar. I am hoping that my efforts will help. I hope by next year to build a mud house and live in Turmi. Just give up everything here in the States. Crazy idea isn’t it!!

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