There is a new menace on the streets of Lahore. We have all heard many times of mobile snatchings before but that usually happens either at night in dark alleys or on deserted streets during daytime, when a lone guy talking on phone becomes the victim. But lately it has come to my Notice that now mobile snatcher have become more bold and that they are doing the snatching in broad daylight in busy traffic. Two of my acquaintances have lost their mobiles on traffic lights within a month. One a few weeks back on Traffic light opposite of siddique Trade centre and the other one today (14-nov-2011) on traffic light of Cavalry ground bridge. Both had their Iphone 4 stolen while it was easily on display on their car dashboard or in their hand and the Modus operandi of the snatchers was the same.
A young man casually passes by and brushes against the side-view mirror. Subconsciously the victim lowers the window glass to readjust the mirror; another boy picks the phone and runs away. In extreme cases the other boy puts a gun to the victim’s head.
Another method is that a guy knocks the rear side of the car and when the victim looks back to check, another guy grabs the phone and runs off ( If you know any other way add in comment).
So far I believe it’s a single gang working within Gulberg area mainly because of proximity to Hafeez centre where the sets can be sold- no questions asked. So I advise people to be especially careful in that area.
Some Suggestions to keep your mobile safe
- Do not use your cell phone while driving it is also against traffic rules.
- Do not display your cell on car dashboard or in your hand keep it in your pocket.
- If you have a laptop do not keep it on back seat keep it in under the seat.
- Try to be in middle lane on signals as snatchers target cars on outside lane as it’s easy to run away.
- In night especially after 12 if traffic is minimum, do not wait for red-light.
- Keep you phones locked with security software so the snatchers can’t use it without flashing your cell in turn keeping your personal data safe.
- Don’t keep personal data on phone especially on memory card.
- Keep you IME number (*#06#) safe and incase of losing phone you can register complaint on http://cplc.org.pk/.
- In emergency you can call PTA helpline 0800-25625.
- Block your sim immediately as it can be used for terrorist activity.
With tech getting smarter and smaller mobile devices are getting more powerful. Already we have seen an upsurge of dual core mobile devices like Lg Optimus 2d and motorola Atrix 4g. But two devices are really creating a huge buzz in the mobile world and yes none of them comes with a half eaten Apple.
HTC and Samsung are neck to neck in battle to gain the status of producing the best android set. This year they both have outdone themselves with their android flagships HTC sensation and Samsung Galaxy s2. Both are due for launch in mid June in Pakistan. So let’s see how they measure up.
From the tech comparison its clear that on paper Samsung seems more faster with 1gb ram and 16gb of onboard memory as compared to 1GB of HTC sensation. But HTC has an edge from its sense UI and true HD aspect ratio. Samsung GS2 will come with a price tag of 70k and HTC will range from 60k to 65k. It is also expected that both devices may be launched bundled with a GSM provider. My internal sources at HTC have told me that both Ufone and Telenor are interested to strike a deal with HTC.
In the end it all comes down to is user experience. Some would prefer the thinner Samsung with its Touch wiz UI. Others will like HTC’s premium design and solid feel over Samsung plastic body and unique experience of sense UI. I will do a detailed review on both devices as they launch.
Being a staunch Apple eater myself I would go for premium design of HTC and its sense UI. What will you go for?
With all the terrorism and internal problems faced by us Pakistanis, one could imagine that nothing can add to their qualms. But that wasn’t the case with PTA’s SIM check facility 668. It created a new wave of annoyance for millions of Cellular service subscribers when they found out that their respective identities were misused for issuance of illegal Mobile connections.
Official sources at PTA have revealed that the cellular phone companies have blocked 12.9 million SIMs in two weeks of 668’s launch(Daily News). Data of around 0.813 million subscribers has been rectified by the relevant mobile phone companies so far. PTA officials fear that as Pakistani nationals living abroad would also add to these numbers.
One person one Connection
The numbers are shocking and one can imagine what’s going through the consumers mind. I believe that both consumers and mobile companies are to blame. Consumers need to be more careful when giving away their CNIC copies for buying mobile connection. On the other hand Cellular companies are just out to make money and issuing SIMs without verifying the identity of a person. If they were sincere about the security of their consumers they could have easily set a rule in their system that no user can have more than one mobile connection without giving proper reason, in written to the particular cellular service provider. A simple solution easily ignored by the highly paid telecom professionals. Imagine how many terrorist attacks could have been averted if such rule had been implemented back in 2001.
Response of Mobile Companies- Encounter with ZONG
According to 668 I had one Zong connection, which I never purchased. So I went to Zong Customer care centerlocated opposite liberty round about in Lahore. The level of customer care was dismal. The outlet was overly crowded and poorly staffed. After waiting for 30 minutes, I reached the customer care officer, I only asked him how Zong got hold of my CNIC, the guy had no answer. On my request the floor manager came and he probably was the worst Customer service guy (yes he clearly took lead from that Wateen guy). He straightforwardly said that it’s not his problem that how it happened and blamed me for it, that I must have been careless with my CNIC (which i never am). Then he said that PTA recently put the 789 rule and so any misuse of identity was not Zong’s fault.
From friends I have heard similar encounters from other cellular service providers and it shows that all the bragging from cellular companies about how serious they are about their social responsibility is bogus.
How to Avoid Identity Theft
The gravity of the situation is that, how easy it is to steals someone identity in order to get a mobile connection, and that could easily be used for terrorism and other criminal activities, incrimination an innocent consumer in the process. So as a public service I am giving some key do’s and don’ts while handling your CNIC.
Make these suggestions your habit
- Always cross your CNIC copy for what purpose you are giving it for e.g. if you are buying a mobile connection than include the number you are buying it for.
- Always buy mobile connection from the authorized franchise or the customer service centers of a particular Cellular service.
- If you lose your CNIC immediately get an FIR and notify your bank and your workplace. A timely FIR can save you from lot of potential trouble.
- As per new government rules always keep your CNIC with you but keep a color photocopy at home.
- Constantly check your mobile connection status from PTA website(http://www.pta.gov.pk/668/index.html)
Avoid these blunders at all times
- Don’t buy a mobile connection from shops and PCO’s as they are most likely to misuse your CNIC.
- Don’t give your CNIC uncrossed.
- Don’t scan you CNIC at a Net cafe.
- Don’t give your CNIC copy to insurance or sales people of any kind.
- Don’t leave your CNIC copy here and there in the house. Your servant might be the culprit.
- Don’t give your CNIC information over the phone to anyone.
PS: If you want to know the procedure for cancelling an illegal connection on your name kindly vies the comment section of this post.
With all of the interesting products and services adventures I have been through; picking a first for my blog was quite tricky. But I have to thank the Guys from Wateen’s customer services and billing department. As any new customer I was very excited to find that Wateen had decided to start its services in my neighborhood. The magical world of digital TV was calling out to me. I even forgot to notice the 6 months they took just to start the service (although promised to do it in 1 month). Just to make it clear, the quality of their cable TV is awesome. It’s very clear and crisp and apart from few glitches (in the first few weeks after installation), the quality of cable reception has been impressive.
My story actually starts after two months; being the good consumer that I am, I felt worried that after almost 3 months of use I still did not receive any bill. At time of installation I had paid one moth’s advance as part of the deal Wateen had offered to Eden society. So I called their customer support and after a long wait got hold of a CSR. I told the CSR that wateen hadn’t billed me. The CSR immediately told me to go to their Customer Service center located in the outskirts of defense. Even after mentioning that I am not calling for a billing issue, I am only asking you to send me the bill. I was rewarded 2 weeks later with a bill including the first month that I had already paid for. So I called their help line again and asked them to fix the bill. The reply was same, “please visit our customer service centre”. I think that’s their universal reply to every query. I actually called them with different problem scenarios and they all had the same answer “Please visit our customer service centre”, like it was a heaven for customers. So I decided to visit it and see what the hype is about.
I reached at 4.30 pm at their Customer service centre located on the back of LUMS. As I entered I was greeted with loud rap music. I went to their help counter and the customer service officer sitting there was busy Multitasking. Not the productive sort, it was his laptop from which the loud Rap Music was emerging and he was also busy in merrily chatting on his cell. When standing in front of him for several seconds didn’t get any response, I had to wave my hand in front of him. After noticing me he gave me a look of disagreement because I had disturbed his quality talk with his gal friend. You might think,”Ok how does this guy know that he the CS guy was busy with his gal?” well I know that for a fact , because after looking at me he first turned his music off than he said ” jan will call u back”. Following is a brief description of what conversation followed. Wateen CS Guy: What’s your problem?
Me: I have been over billed.
Wateen CS Guy: Well it will be fixed sir in next month, thank you.
Me: looking at him with amazement, “don’t you need my customer id and login to your system and check my status”
Wateen CS Guy: “yes, your service is active”. He said looking at the screen without punching any keys like he could control the system with his mind.
Me: Well I know it is because my cable is working, can you give me a receipt.
To get rid of me he took my bill and wrote something on it and then handed it back to me saying “Your bill will be fixed and I will email you, personally.”
I walked out still in disbelief from the worst Customer service experience in recorded history. The next bill came with the same mistake. I called the sales manager who made the deal with our society; he was bit better and apologized for the bad experience. He told me that due to layoffs the staff is not working with full heart. Aren’t people supposed to work harder during layoffs to prove their productivity? Moreover the CS in my case was working with heart, only it was in the wrong place. The sales manager assured me that the problem will be fixed and I don’t have to worry about disconnection.Two months later and still the same over charged bill. 2 weeks back a team came to my house to cut the connection, I called the sales manager again and he said that for the moment I have to pay 2 months bill of rs.700. I did so and in a follow up call another CS person assured me that my bill would be fixed. Yesterday I got October’s bill, yeah u guessed it right. Not only the bill was wrong but it also included the Rs.700 that I had paid them.
I still can’t decide whether to sue them or kill the connection. My consumer horror story is not to make Wateen look bad, but only to make them realize that customers have rights too and we pay for a service so to avoid problems. This can be only done with your help. Spread the word and see your own strength.
In wireless internet Wateen is and will be facing stringent competition from Witribe, Worldcall and PTCL’s EVO. There will be other competition in the market of wireless Internet. So I don’t see a big future for Wateen’s wimax. But with the impressive quality of cable TV they have I can say they won’t face any problems in creating a big market share if not a monopoly. But in order to do so they have to improve on certain areas, specifically in customer services and billing. Here are a few suggestions I have for Wateen.
1. Improve your customer service by hiring at least 2 permanent customer service people in every customer care centre so they are serious about their work.
2. Improve your billing procedures and make it more flexible as regards to dates and customer ids.
3. Have regular service quality checks and reward good performance.
4. Take customer comments and actually act on them.
5. Give easy access to at least middle level managers to customers.
Cable TV: Excellent .
Cable Internet: Poor .
Wimax: Poor .
Customer Service and Billing: Worst .