A Tale Addressed to the Telecomm Tyrants
At 11PM Saturday last week, my sim card indiscriminately lost signal.
I was just using for three hours then a promo of 24-hour unlimited calls and texts for a meager Php25. All of a sudden, I can’t get into the network; hence no texts, no calls, incoming or outgoing. It’s like being insurrected by feared Spanish friars. I initially thought there was something wrong with my about five-year-old sim or with John Casey Pearson (named after Chuck’s NSA colonel and Skins actress April Pearson who have the same Motorola phones as I am). So I did the basic troubleshooting— switch sims and phones. At midnight, it struck me: My sim card’s busted. But it wasn’t blocked or anything since my phonebook and messages still exist. My phone’s signal was only nowhere to be found. And I had to arrange a kind of movie meet-up with my HS classmates on a Sunday by texting/calling them around. Enter Alanis Morisette: Isn’t it ironic, don’t you think?
Then on a mad Sunday noon, I called up the telecomm’s free 24-hour customer service and ranted— using my mum’s phone— about my recent case. I cannot just throw my sim card away since for one thing, my number’s easy to memorize; for another, it’s been my number for a long time already; and lastly, I don’t find pleasure in sending out a group message about my supposedly “new number.” To add, there’s still some prepaid load that that sim contained.
After 10 minutes of listening to a repetitive ad jingle I especially do not care about, I finally was answered by a human being. The call center agent almost gave me a relief when he said that I was to get back my signal within a “maximum of 24 hours.” He also asked for my complete name and address— something I always feel uncomfortable at. They’re not the government, are they? Hah! Naturally, I’d say that my name is Mark (Reason: commonness) for addressing purposes, but that time I gave in. With bravura, I also told him that they should get rid of the jingle cos it’s irritating to the wits!
But the real story on why I was suspended signal, I inquired. He told me that there was a technical problem where I did some “unlikely” things. Hmm.
Monday noon came (yes, I wake up at brunch on a regular basis), I checked John Casey and still, no signal. And since that would be beyond the promised “maximum of 24 hours,” AND beyond my patience, I called the customer service once again.
“I need my signal back please!” I said.
“Yes, Sir, we’ll forward your concern again.” The agent was nervous, judging from his crooked voice.
“I’m sorry I’m not pissed at you,” I recollected, “But if my load expires after I eventually attain back my signal, it’s my fault?”
“No Sir, it’s my fault,” he instantly replied. I hope he didn’t get a nervous breakdown after my death voice.
Of course Tuesday bloomed, and signal bars weren’t still spotted. I called Them up again restating the code that avoided me to retell the story once more. Alas, I had to retell the story including my name and address. “What, you just asked me days ago?” I said. Then the rather confident agent told me that he’d pass the concern to a higher echelon of technicians cos it wasn’t normal to still not get a feedback after more than 24 fuckin’ hours. “Of course it wasn’t normal. Also, I want it ASAP,” I reprimanded. The agent— I suspect can be a member of Illuminati— said that NTC might be the real problem. The agency reproached users and telecomm companies to utilize a certain limit when it comes to calls and texts a day. Enlightenment!
“Really? Since when?” I told him.
“Since April this year, Sir Cyrus,” he replied.
“Why don’t I know anything about this?”
“Well, they passed a network-wide SMS and they published it in broadsheets.”
“That’s amazing!” I groaned.
He furthered that the unlimited calls shouldn’t be used for “business or commercial” purposes but rather “person-to-person” transactions only. Such deed could lead to communication jams so it is haphazardly requested to refrain from going “unlimited.” Rewind to that Saturday night: I was just calling people around to tell them that we have a high school date the day after. Is that COMMERCIAL enough? So unlimited calls and texts— in “person-to-person” terms— only target on sweethearts now???! How about the lovelorn bunch? (I thought we have Sun Cellular for that.) And since when did it occur that unlimited is never really UNlimited?
Now, NTC, face me: Why are you limiting the unlimited?
If technical difficulties surround the concept of unlimited, then why let these telecommunication companies advertise around that it’s okay to call/text people nonstop? Why are you making the customers— the reason why you’re considered indispensable— F up with problems they are not responsible or capable of solving?
I eventually retrieved my signal Thursday night— nearly five days of waiting in absolute vain. I couldn’t help but to feel overjoyed, as if I won the lottery. But in reality I lost.
Beforehand, I bitched out the agent who told me that according to his computer, the previous call center personnel I engaged myself in once-a-day conversation at best hadn’t submitted ANY report. NOT ONE OF THEM.
“What?!” I said, “So I’ve been calling you every single day for nothing?!” He then reiterated that he believed it was a mistake. “Yes, it is. A five-day-long mistake!” I replied. So whatever that was, it was haunting. I didn’t just have a A Beautiful Mind moment, did I?! Gah.
That Saturday evening, I had just used the promo for about three hours and I get dished off. And since you NTC and/or telecomm tyrants monitor our calls and texts, how do you know what’s “commercial” and what’s “person-to-person?” Most importantly, why fool people who don’t like being fooled?