On March 2, I started my day by registering a phone theft complaint at Kiira Road Police Station. I wanted to be served with a police letter that would enable my wife replace the same numbers of her simcards that were stolen together with the phone. It took three hours for the police to give the said letter because the officer in charge of distributing the forms was not yet on duty at 9am. When I got the forms/letter the police stamp was locked in a room that was yet to be opened...
Later in the day, we went to MTN customer centre on Jinja Road but they claimed the network that would have enabled us get the simcard replacement was off so we were to get the service the next day. We decided to try our luck at MTN customer centre on Shoprite shopping centre on Entebbe road. Here the service was available but the queue of people who wanted to replace their simcards was outrageously long, and inconveniencing.
The Askaris were busy pushing people away from accessing the inside of the MTN Service Centre office. The centre is also used for mobile money transactions. So there is little space for everyone. Because of this, the customers carrying out mobile money transactions are given the first priority. The guy (s) who handles simcard replacement at this service centre operate in a narrow office space. This leaves the people who want simcard replacement to line up outside the MTN Service Centre (Shoprite) entrance.
At this entrance there is a mass of youth roaming the place soliciting to replace one's simcard at a cost of between Shs15,000 and Shs40,000 depending on how long one was willing to wait. These cum simcard-replacement brokers have their contacts inside the various telecommunication companies' service centres, whom I think they share the illegal simcard replacement fees with. Officially MTN Uganda charges Shs1500 to replace a lost simcard. Someone who wants to replace their simcard at the official cost has to endure the annoying queues.
Fed up with the hustle and bustle at the MTN customer service centre we decided to first replace the airtel line first. The reason was both telecoms have office space on the same building. The lining up at airtel service centre was organised and done inside their office and there were over 10 workers attending to customers, each line with a maximum of five people. Within 20 minutes were done with simcard replacement at a cost of Shs3000. As for the MTN simcard we were unable to replace it because of the unending queues.
You might be wondering why is he writing all this. Because it is often said the customer is king. Why do we continue to get sloppy service delivery in this country? Why do we accept this? Even in the private sector where service should delivered in time, things seem not to be working out well. Those who dominate the market are bullying their customers. I refuse this bully. I decide who will make me dip my fingers into my wallet. Why can't MTN decentralise some of these services at least to major suburbs of Kampala city so as to increase efficiency in serving the people of Uganda?