Entrepreneur takes on Neotel

Posted on Jun 18, 2020


By Nicola Mawson and Candice Jones Posted: 18th June 2009

A frustrated entrepreneur has taken Neotel to task over its failure to deliver on its promises, lodging a complaint with regulator the Independent Communications Authority of SA (ICASA).

Colin Levin spends about R1 500 a month on Neotel’s data-only 10GB Neoflex package, using about 20GB a month, and says ICASA must investigate the matter so that Neotel can publicly acknowledge the problems.

The entrepreneur’s complaint is not an isolated one, as many other people have complained on consumer site Hellopeter.com, as well as MyBroadband.co.za. Complaints revolve around a lack of service delivery, late device installation and ignored complaints.

Levin argues that, if ICASA wants to investigate the mobile networks for an inability to deliver, it must also investigate Neotel. He claims Neotel has failed to deliver on its advertised claims.

Strict deadline

ICASA says it has received the complaint and has contacted Neotel to have it attend to the issues.

According to ICASA spokesman Sekgoela Sekgoela, Neotel has 14 days in which to fix the problem. “We will be keeping an eye on this and other complaints. In our experience, these things usually get fixed, but if they don’t we could always invoke the penalties in terms of their licence conditions.”

While the mobile operators have been called into meetings to account for service delivery in similar complaints, the regulator says it is unlikely the complaints against Neotel will escalate to that level.

In his complaint to ICASA, lodged in May, Levin claims the “service runs extremely erratically with line drops at regular intervals, most especially during business hours”. He also says the “service has never reached its claimed speed in the time that I have had it”.

On 15 June, Neotel responded to Levin, stating: “We received you [sic] formal compliant lodged with ICASA and are busy investigating. We will come back to you and ICASA as soon as we have sufficient information to provide you with answers. Please be patient while we gather the information.”

Worse than dial-up

Levin tells ITWeb that speeds are now down to about 5% of what he received during the first few weeks of signing up, a few months ago, when it was at 2 400kbps. On 25 May, he told ICASA: “At times, the download speeds are at lower speeds than a dial-up modem.”

Neotel’s Web site says the package Levin uses provides “peak speeds of 3.1Mbps (downloads) and 1.8Mbps (uploads)” and “average data speeds of between 450Kbps and 900Kbps (downloads) and 300Kbps to 700Kbps (uploads)”. He says he gets about 150Kbps for downloads now.

Levin also claims “the e-mail service has stopped working entirely on three occasions since I have had the service, each time for more than 24 hours at a time”. He says he has also lost data when downloading and the service disconnects suddenly, which costs him extra.

“They are getting lots of revenue out of me; we are not getting much back.” Levin points out that he pays promptly via debit order. Levin says Neotel has ignored his complaints. “My biggest complaint, however, relates to their complete disregard of official complaints and a complete lack of effective feedback on their part.

“My contention is that Neotel is not providing what they advertise and, therefore, should not be allowed to charge for a trial service which is clearly not ready for public usage,” argues Levin in his complaint.

Neotel was unable to respond to ITWeb’s request for comment by the time of publication.

http://www.itweb.co.za/sections/telecoms/2009/0906181040.asp?S=Legal%20View&A=LEG&O=WT

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