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The state owned ethio telecom (et) is going to limit postpaid mobile air time. The new policy will require people who want post paid service to make a deposit at et first, Capital learned.
About 15 years ago the State owned telecom company decided to allow people to use unlimited phone service and pay for it afterward in the form of a monthly bill. This type of service, known as postpaid billing, is used in many parts of the world.
In 2003 a prepaid mobile service was introduced and, from that time on, customers payed after they used the service.
“However allowing people to pay after they use the service has affected the telecom firm because some customers disappeared without settling their bill,” sources at the state monopoly explained.
The same sources further said that the amount of money lost from this process has been growing from time to time.
To combat the problem ethio-telecom has launched this new policy. From now on clients who want postpaid services must make a partial payment as a guarantee that they will follow through with their monthly payment.
The smallest deposit that will be accepted is 250 birr. That person will then be able to call up to 95 percent of the deposited amount during the month. There is no maximum limit to the deposit a person can make, according to a source in the company.
The company is making this change in order to control their bill collection and all postpaid users will be affected by this change.
ethio-telecom has already started making the changes with some of its customers. To determine the deposit, the company is looking at the maximum monthly amount they paid over the past year and then setting that as the required deposit.
Transitioning the clients to the new system may to be challenging.
“Before it is going to be fully implemented the telecom giant should categorize its customers to determine if they should be included in the new system,” these sources told Capital.
Officers at the telecom enterprise told Capital that some of the customers are complaining that the telecom enterprise is forcing them to use a limited amount when their business depends on having an unlimited amount of telephone minutes at their disposal.
For instance customers may have a monthly bill of 20,000 birr and then they will be expected to deposit this amount before they receive any service.
“The enterprise prefers the postpaid scheme rather than the card. The telecom firm wants to reduce or to replace the prepaid into a billing system,” sources said.
Officers at et said that they encourage customers to use the postpaid service because it is in the company’s interest.
The number of postpaid mobile service users in the country is about 900,000 from the total mobile subscribers of 23 million.