Those of us old enough would remember that it was only in the late 1990’s when the Philippines’ largest telco, the Philippine Long Distance and Telephone Co. (PLDT) implemented a “zero backlog” scheme, where it attempted to complete its fixed-line rollout and installation to all applicants of its telephone service. That was triggered by the onset of competition from new telcos such as Bayantel, ETPI, Digitel, and others, in the wake of the de-monopolization of the local telecoms industry with Republic Act 7925 and similar Government issuances.
The promise of the new telcos was quick rollout and installation of lines. In contrast, it usually took PLDT decades after application before a client can actually enjoy telephone service.
I remember my elation when the Bayantel service crew came in only after about three days of my submitting an application. Then a few months later, the PLDT crew came in to install two telephone lines my family had applied for a decade earlier. Wow.
Fast forward to a decade later. It’s been more than a month now since my in-laws’ place had a telephone connection–the line got grounded, so it went gradually from static-filled conversations (and frequently cut dial-up connections) to no phone service at all in just a few days.
The PLDT customer / repair service, in my experience, is now in stark contrast to what the company aimed to achieve ten years ago.
The incident had been reported frequently to PLDT Customer service many a time, and when they finally sent in a repair crew a couple of weeks after, the diagnosis was that the problem wa with the cable between the conduit and the telephone unit itself (which runs underground). And the crew claimed that the company was not responsible for repairing such damages.
We called customer service to ask if we can have a replacement line going inside the house instead, and they agreed to send in a crew to convert it into an aerial connection (conflicting views?). But we’d been following up for the past few weeks to no avail. We even went to the PLDT Office at SM North EDSA Cyberzone to follow up and contest the latest bill–we won’t pay since we got no service (they agreed to rebate the amount in the next billing cycle). We were faced by an irate cusomer service rep–talk about pleasing the client!
I actually suggested that we ditch PLDT and get a new line from another telco–may be less of a hassle!
My story will definitely continue.