Saturday, December 09, 2006

A nuisance problem with Latvian Mobile Telephone

I've started my new job, but my mobile subscription is still on its way. My old employer had my Latvian Mobile Telephone (LMT) number blocked for outgoing calls since December 5. That sort of makes sense. From November 30 to December 4, the phone worked for calls on my account. Again, fair enough. Now the lack of outgoing service was getting to be a nuisance, so I bought an LMT O-Karte prepaid, slapped LVL 10 on it and thought I would forward all my incoming calls to the new number. Within the network, this is free of charge. However, I encountered the utter absurdity of being banned for using a free forwarding service because my outgoing service was suspended (this was confirmed by a service operator). Absolutely fucking absurd because 1) it costs neither me nor my old employer (who technically is the subscriber) anything 2) it is a major inconvenience that in no way benefits anyone nor prevents any exposure to financial risk, since there is none. It is simply a way of screwing the user for no reason.
To be fair, I don't know if the other operators Tele2 and Bite might do the same. But it would be equally pointless. Anyone "between service providers" would want to use this kind of arrangement, forwarding their number in transit to a temporary number and then back to normal when the old number was is effectively prevented from doing so. I blew the better part of LVL 2.50 on SMS to people announcing my temporary number instead of having their potential calls simply go seamlessly to the O-Karte number.
I am curious how mobile operators outside Latvia handle these situations -- you go from Job A to Job B with a number you want to keep and with both A and B picking up your phone costs. What happens during the handover?

6 comments:

Bleveland said...

This kind of screwing with people for no reason at all some how always makes me think of the movie "Falling Down" with Michael Douglas playing Bill Foster, a middle aged guy who simply can't stand it anymore (and eventually guns down anybody that messes with him). This LMT-f*cking would have been a situation that could have triggered him. Nothing I would suggest to do though, but sometimes one can understand that enough is enough for any person.

I think here in Sweden it is no major problem if you stick with your provider (you need however to warn them in time which is some weeks). It goes seamless. Changing provider but keeping your number and simultaneously transferring the subscriber to your new employer is trickier and is recommended to do in 2 steps. First transfer the subscriber to the new employer, then do the number porting thing to the new provider. It doesn't always work smoothly though. I also ended up with an intermediate number for a week or so. The old provider "accidentally" disabled my number a week to early. It was al a "misunderstanding". Yeah sure....

Liv said...

Consider this situation - you forward incoming calls to new number (free within network) and then go abroad for holidays...

Anyway, this "nuisance" is not "a way of screwing the user for no reason" but rather technical.

Bleveland said...

At 4:09 PM, Liv said...
Consider this situation - you forward incoming calls to new number (free within network) and then go abroad for holidays...

Anyway, this "nuisance" is not "a way of screwing the user for no reason" but rather technical.


And who is paying your rent? :-))

For your (technical) information there are several options:

* simply disable forwarding as soon as the Okarte user logs on another (foreign) network. Only allow free forwarding to other LMT subscriptions.

* forward the calls until the users credit is over (no credit = no incoming calls outside Latvia)

* offer the Okarte user a short term additional service that makes the prepaid card a limited term subscription as soon as you cross the border.

Not exactly a lack of possibilities. LMT is a typical "fat and happy" company that forgot that the customer always must be on the first place. Screwing up or just indifferent. I don't know what is worse. They're Falling Down.

Liv said...

AFAIK, call forwarding is supplementary GSM service based on outgoing calls. It is a limitation of technology/standard, not invention of marketing and sales people.
As follows, to enable call forwarding, service provider has to enable outgoing calls and limit this service for use only within home network for call forwarding exclusive. I believe it requires quite a lot of reworking of call centres - hardware and software.
This is possibility, but not very cheap one and neither very necessary.

Bleveland said...

You believe it is quite a lot of reworking.

I assure it is not.. it can be done very easily. As a matter of facts it is done by many providers, but it seems that you happen to know that LMT has no intention to support this. Come on, you can not seriously mean it is acceptable that these kind of things take several weeks and given the fact that they do take so much time that there than is no way to keep the user satisfied... Well, I rest my case. I guess we can agree to disagree since you do not even think it is necessary :-))

Liv said...

Could you, please, name some providers who will forward calls while outgoing calls are disabled?

"these kind of things take several weeks" ? What exactly do you mean? Number porting from one service provider to another must be done within 10 working days and usualy there is no service interruption as in this case, when the actual customer of LMT (former employer of Juris Kaža, as I understand) asked to block outgoing calls. In this case there is going on number porting AND change of ownership simultaneously.

Concerning disagreement - as a customer I want all services I need to be available 24x7, but I do not agree that this is case of "screwing with people for no reason" (neither - with reason).