Qatar residents who threatened to switch telecom providers this week after learning about new increased international call rates were dismayed to find that the price hike applies to both Ooredoo and Vodafone.
Citing factors beyond their control, the companies have raised their standardized rate for prepaid international calls from .66Dhs/min to .99Dhs/min.
In a statement, Ooredoo, whose change takes effect tomorrow, Nov. 1, said:
“This rise in price is a response to the increasing costs of terminating overseas calls, which is an issue affecting the industry globally.”
Vodafone, whose new prices took effect on Oct. 29, is also raising its local call rates. In a Facebook post, a customer service representative stated:
“Due to increasing associated costs, we have been forced to increase our Prepaid international and local calling rates since the old prices were no longer feasible. The international standard rates have been increased to 99Dhs/min and the standard rates for local call been increased to 55Dhs/min.”
The new rates come on the heels of a UN report stating that Qatar has the priciest internet and phone services in the Gulf, and is frustrating some residents who say they already pay enough to talk to loved ones.
Online, customers have been reacting with anger and disappointment to the announcements.
Reza Raisi told Vodafone:
“Qatar already has the most expensive rates and now with this new 1 QR per min international rate no country can break this record.”
Louay Lzk said:
“50% sudden increase on the rates! This is certified theft.”
Flor Cargason pleaded to Ooredoo:
“Please decrease your rates, our salary same only. . . No increase!!!!!!”
And Ahmed Nadeem said:
“we don’t need you Ooredoo, make it 100 QR/min , we have many other applications to call”
Meanwhile, both companies are reminding residents that they can subscribe to services that would decrease their international calling rates. Ooredoo and Vodafone are offering customers the ability to talk to people in certain countries for 60Dhs/min if they pay a QR1/weekly fee.
Both companies also have special deals to call India.
When asked why these packages are unaffected by the sudden price increase that has hit carriers, a Vodafone spokeswoman told Doha News:
“Over the past 18 months, the interconnect costs have been gradually rising for many destinations. We needed to increase prices within our international portfolio. We elected to increase our international standard rate and maintain our best value international offers. This means customers with the highest international calling needs still get excellent rates.”
An Ooredoo spokeswoman added to Doha News:
“We are sending targeted messages to all our customers and an end of call notification for Hala customers (after every international call they make) informing them of the changes and suggesting the best saving option for them.”
Are you affected by the new prices? Thoughts?