After being mesmerized by the salivating data offers from the newly rebranded Telkom Kenya, I rushed to town to buy their SIM card. After all, I had promised you that I’ll test their Internet, compare it to Safaricom’s Internet, and report my findings in two weeks. Sad news, I may not be able to do the test after undergoing another horrifying experience at Telkom Kenya’s Nakuru shop – typical of what I went through three years back when I first tried to use the Orange line. After the rebranding, the least I expected was to write an article narrating of a useless Telkom Kenya.
This is the story.
I planned my day (yesterday) such that by 3pm I would be inside Telkom Kenya Nakuru shop to buy their new 4G SIM cards. This was after enquiring through their Twitter Account and confirmed that Nakuru is one of the towns that have their 4G coverage. More so, I looked forward to saving 60% on Internet expenditure while enjoying 700MBs extra data bundles at the same 4G speeds Safaricom has been offering. A few minutes to 3pm I was inside the shop.
The shop is set such that the customer care representatives sit in cubicles. There are three cubicles – four if I am wrong. In one of the cubicles, two representatives were busy attending to one customer. The representatives in the other cubicles seemed busy – on their phones – probably on Facebook or Twitter. Being the only customer who was not being attended to, I expected to be welcomed to any relevant cubicle in seconds – and if it were the wrong cubicle, I would promptly be referred to the correct cubicle. My welcoming would take two minutes. Actually, it is the watchman at the doorway who saw me stranded at the walkway who came to my rescue.
He asked me of the services I required. I told him that I needed to buy a SIM card. He referred me to a cubicle – a cubicle directly in front of me – the cubicle that had the lady representative comfortably stretching her legs across to the empty chair while busy scrolling through her smartphone. I thought she was too busy but immediately she heard the watchman refer me to her she asked, “how can I serve you?” She asked this without stretching her neck – without lifting her eyes to look at who she was talking to.
I told her I wanted to buy a 4G SIM card.
“Sorry we can’t serve you today, please come back tomorrow. Our SIM registration system is down”. I walked out, not uttering a word. Five minutes wasted.
On the streets I spotted some Telkom Kenya sales representatives selling the 4G SIM cards. I walked to one and asked him if I could buy a 4G card. He said yes.
“Are you able to register me?”
“Yes”, he said.
“But at the Telkom shop they have explained that the System is down”, I wondered.
“We are on a different system”, he said.
“How so?”, I asked.
“We use both the non-mobile system and mobile system. At the shop they use only the mobile system”, he answered.
Although not convinced, I went ahead to buy the SIM card alongside 50 shillings worth of Airtime. After the registration, the line accepted the credit. It was time to start testing their network, specifically the strength of their Internet. I subscribed to the Daily 40MBs that qualified me to receive free 1GB data that they call 4Gfree data.
I also received their Internet configuration message and performed full install accordingly. Then restarted the phone after which I set the cellular data to Orange (that’s the name the phone still recognises). But I wouldn’t browse. I changed my data access to 4G only, but this only helped to wipe out the Orange network bars on the display – meaning in mid town Nakuru there is zero 4G Internet coverage. I don’t want to believe that their Twitter representative lied to me about availability of 4G Internet in Nakuru.
I set the phone to 3G only then to 2G only but these still had no Internet access.
After an hour of frustrations, I decided to call their customer care. The lady representative on the other end of the call was kind, and sounded nice. She sent me another set of Internet configuration messages, advised me to change the configuration name to Telkom and the APN to telkom, save, then restart the phone. I followed the instructions, but one hour later I still had no Internet access.
I decided to take to Twitter to report my problems, hoping that, similar to Safaricom, I would receive immediate and effective help from their Twitter customer care representatives. At exactly 5.13pm I decided to tweet them my issues. I waited. 15 minutes later there was no response coming forth – so I decided to scroll down their Twitter timeline. Surprisingly, Telkom Kenya’s Twitter Account only attend to customers between 8AM and 5PM (or 4.30PM), imagine that.
Then I called their customer care again, first explaining to them all the attempts I have made to try gain access to their Internet. This time the representative on the other end explained that my SIM card is not yet registered. I asked her if there was any details that was required that I didn’t provide to the guy who sold me the SIM card in the streets. She confirmed that all the details were in order. I asked her why wasn’t my SIM card registered, she said I needed to be patient as the SIM card should be registered before daybreak- and if by daybreak the SIM card wasn’t registered, I should go back to the pathetic useless Telkom Kenya shop to get help – a shop I don’t want to step inside ever again.
To make matters worse, if by any bad luck the SIM card registration won’t go through, then the data I had subscribed to will be wiped out –
Now these are the reasons why you must avoid joining this useless Telkom Kenya – at least until they put their house in order:
- Their 4G, seemingly, is not in every major town as they have said.
- Their customer care experience is the worst just as it has always been when the teleco was known as Orange. Their online customer care doesn’t make things any better as, although they may sound kind and nice, they will probably be unable to resolve any of your issues. This is not limited to SIM card registration alone as confirmed by many friends who have been on Orange for years.
- Their social media accounts don’t understand that when it comes to online presence, the services run on a 24 hour economy. This is particularly important to those of us who value on time social media feedback above any other form of communications. Please, if you have been using Safaricom’s social media to resolve your mobile telephony needs, do not move to Telkom Kenya. You may end up developing a heart condition.
If Telkom Kenya rebranded – why would it carry on with the pathetic useless Orange practices that locked many from trying out their services?
No, the cheap data bundles that are likely to be a disappointment due to unreliable network will not lure anyone to stick to their services. Quality of product and customer care representation matters more the money.