Posted on September 23, 2015

A consumer survey commissioned by the Communications Regulatory Authority (CRA)  shows that a majority of telecom users in the country are generally satisfied with the quality of services provided by their service provider, the survey indicates key areas of focus for improvement, including pricing, rate plans, and complaint resolution. The survey also found that about one-fifth (22 percent) of consumers surveyed believe prices of various services in Qatar are priced low or very low.  Among all aspects of pricing, consumers particularly believe international calling and roaming charges to be expensive.

These are some of the many findings in a survey conducted by AMRB LLC, a market research firm, for the CRA.  This comprehensive research survey evaluates consumers’ level of satisfaction regarding the delivery of telecommunication services, prices charged, services provided, and satisfaction with the complaint resolution mechanism, among others.  For the survey, 2,526 face-to-face interviews and nine focus groups were conducted among Ooredoo and Vodafone customers in Qatar, including all demographic groups and geographic locations throughout the country.

“This survey was commissioned as part of our mandate as the communications sector regulator to ensure a competitive marketplace and protect consumer rights,” said Amel Salem Al-Hanawi, Consumer Affairs Manager. “The survey findings have been shared with both Ooredoo and Vodafone and we are pleased that they are willing to work with CRA to address challenges and concerns highlighted by consumers in the survey,” she added.

The survey shows that 15-24 year olds, and Al Daayen residents are less satisfied than overall consumers with the quality of their telecom service. Overall quality of service (QoS) satisfaction levels are slightly higher than the global average (84 percent) and slightly lower than those in North America (91 percent). 

When consumers were asked about their rate plan, they were least satisfied with the ‘variety of rate plans’, with the highest dissatisfaction among males, non-Qataris, 15-44 year olds, and prepaid users.  Generally, customers were more satisfied with the clarity of rate plans (93 percent), clear terms and conditions (90 percent) and competitiveness of tariffs (89 percent).  This reflects positively on the impact and effectiveness of the Consumer Protection Policy issued by CRA in 2013.

In terms of consumers’ perceptions of whether Qatar’s telecom market is competitive, for services, 32 percent said the market was extremely/very competitive, 46 percent said somewhat competitive, and 22 percent said not very/not at all competitive.  In terms of prices, 29 percent rated the market as extremely/very competitive, 45 percent said somewhat competitive, and 26 percent said not very/not at all competitive.  Dissatisfaction was highest among males, non-Qataris, 25-44 year olds and prepaid users.  Customers’ wish list for the sector included more competition in the market, better services at affordable rates, better Internet facilities, and protection of consumer rights.

Qatar Airways Baku

Other major findings include:

  • Network coverage is rated high across all services offered – mobile voice, mobile voice and data, mobile broadband, and data specific SIM—and across all regions.
  • Satisfaction on network availability is relatively weak among Internet (copper users) at 60 percent and those residing in Al Daayen at 67 percent.
  • While overall satisfaction with ‘voice and SMS services’ is high – including voice quality and clarity, lack of call drops, and SMS delivery – improvement can be made in the Al Shamal and Al Wakra regions.
  • Users of most of the data services (other than copper Internet) are satisfied with the services provided, with quality of data services at 93 percent, data network coverage at 94 percent, speed at 93 percent, and video access/streaming quality at 92 percent.
  • Dissatisfaction on ‘ease of activation’ is higher among mobile broadband, mobile voice, and fiber broadband users.
  • More than 90 percent of consumers are satisfied with the switch from copper to fiber (94 percent) and also with the quality of broadband after the switch, with 90 percent rating quality of broadband after the switch very much or much better.
  • Only 32 percent of those surveyed  are aware of mobile number portability (MNP) and of those who are aware, 9 percent took advantage of this service.  Of those with experience with MNP, 72 percent were satisfied and 48 percent claimed that porting took between 1-5 days.
  • While there is low incidence of consumers raising complaints with service providers (7 percent during the time of the survey),  25 percent of customers are dissatisfied with the speed of resolution.
  • While consumers do not find the SMS promotions to be misleading, they are less satisfied with ‘options to opt out of promotional messages’.

The survey findings will be used by CRA to improve services and protect consumers.  In addition, CRA has initiated another study to better understand the levels of satisfaction of telecom services among the business consumers. The full Consumer Satisfaction Survey report is available on the CRA website at the link http://cra.gov.qa/en/document/cra-consumer-satisfaction-survey-report-2014

The ‎ Communications Regulatory Authority (CRA) is the communications regulator in the state of Qatar established by virtue of Emiri Decree (42) in 2014. CRA regulates the communications sector, postal services, and access to digital media. CRA will continue to ensure that individuals, businesses, and government have access to a broad range of innovative and reasonably priced communications services. The CRA uses its full range of regulatory powers to ensure that competition in the communications sector thrives and consumer rights are protected.

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