Looking on are Airtel customer service director Mato Shimabale (l) and Airtel marketing
Airtel customer service director Mato Shimabale (l) and Airtel marketing

The Zambia Information & Communications Technology Authority (ZICTA) has discovered that Airtel Zambia has an automated call blocking system in its call centre which bars all numbers that call the call centre more than three times in any particular day.

ZICTA acting Public Relations Manager Chisha Shimungala in a statement released to QFM today says this practice is an affront to consumers’ rights and interests as it denies them the right to make a complaint and deprives them of the privilege to contact their service provider when necessary.

Mrs Shimungala explains that Section 67 of the Information & Communication Technologies (ICT) Act Number 15 of 2009 provides that all service providers must deal reasonably with their consumers and address consumer complaints.

She says the failure to adhere to the above provision constitutes an offence and any service providers found wanting is liable to prosecution.

Mrs Shimungala ZICTA has since directed Airtel to immediately cease the practice failure to which the Authority will invoke provisions of the Act and take stern action against the operator.

She adds that in the same vein, the other two mobile phone operators are urged to refrain from the practice.

She has further advised consumers and the general public to report to ZICTA non adherence to the directive by the concerned operator.

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37 COMMENTS

  1. I DONT EVEN REMEMBER THA LAST TIME I USED AIRTEL…ONLY USE IT WHEN CALLING AIRTEL SUBSCRIBERS…USELESS AIRTEL MANAGEMENT…..!!!!!!!!PENALISE THEM….

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  2. is the call free of charge to the caller(client)? Which ever the case, its ridiculous to restrict callers to only 3 calls. We all know that sometimes you need to make several calls to the call center (especially if you only getting through to incompetent agents) before having your problem sorted.

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  3. Let me look for my Airtel number. I hope its not blocked because it has been long ever since i used it. We need Vodacom

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  4. airtel very expensive mobile phone service provider, can we have another mobile phone service provider to have competition of these services in Zambia?

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  5. Can i tell you something: ZICTA hold meetings with Airtel, MTN and Zamtel every month and everyone knows about Airtel’s pranking system.
    What is interesting to note is that MTN’s call blocking system is not mentioned and why they do not answer calls. Stop and think about this for a minute. Zamtel need not to worry cause at the moment.
    Everybody is talking about a 4th provider and how it’ll force the existing operators to lower prices and improve service delivery. Truth be told, we’ll only experience worse service cause everybody will be cutting costs. Government for a fact will soon have Zamtel in their hands again and they will need to grow and protect it. They cannot do this with another player on the ground

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    • Aviation Spy,

      Yes the cost of calling will fall but will it be sustainable or viable for these companies to stay in business? Don’t forget all these companies are currently foreign owned. They could easily dissolve the company and sell the assets. What happens to the employees? Zambia will be without providers of service and unemployed telcom employees. This call for a 4th provider is not common to Zambia. Look at why the T-mobile/AT&T didn’t go through, that number of providers in RSA or Kenya. There are caps there too because of the effect this may have on the market and consumer. Beside the consumer in these markets are even more than Zambia (critical mass).

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  6. I have a simple question to ask: Has anyone walked into Airtel or MTN or Zamtel to talk to them about the network?

    In the beginning, i thought it was a joke but it’s now getting serious. Sorry to say this but i see some racial factors at play here

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    • Are you suggesting that there is bias in the way the authority is confronting cell providers? Then petition through your MP to propose a clause in the authority act for public meetings so public submission of unaddressed issues. You may have a valid point.

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  7. you guys do ‘t just say that airtel must go that’s why you have the right to choose which network you want to use, if you think airtel is not good go to MTN or ZAMTEL this is a free zed mwebantu even in the BIBLE we are told to choose whom we want to follow GOD or SATAN

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  8. Heads need to roll at ZICTA…these chaps at Airtel are only interested in milking the consumers dry, consumers know you rights every time you top-up your phone… you contribute to the Indian billionaire owner’s bank balance!!
    Wise up and vote with your feet!!!

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  9. REAL ISSUES:
    The reason why the number of calls to call centers are restricted is just a way of MANAGING RESOURCES so that every one can have a chance for the call center.
    This time most people have cellphones including children. Some just abuse the same call center service and will be asking the obvious.Other are psycho so they call with a hope of going it personal with those agents.
    So RESOURCE MANAGEMENT is important. If you want leave it open and it will take you forever to connect to call center and the blame for the service provider will be worse than this.

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  10. Below standard service since they became Airtel. Time to migrate to providers that care. They do not deserve me!

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  11. This Airtel thing has been making headlines and yet no one does anything about it like there is no govt in the country to protect consumers. Rubbish PF. What patriotism do you know?

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  12. Airtel have failed to provide good service,so i suggest that this company may leave us in peace.please ba airtel tatulefwaya amawala.

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  13. Job from the way you sound you work for these useless indians airtel and you are an embarrasement to the zambian community. Your call centre should anticipate growth and not block callers from calling your centre.you know that you sell cheap fonz and your sim cards are all over the market and you still maintain the same number of agents in the call centre. Your call centre is outsourced in the name of reducing costs and you call that resource management when the purpose of your existence is restricted to 3 calls, this rubbish.

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  14. ok these pipo are mistreating us.look at the issue of the scratch cards,when u buy a zamtel card and overscratch it then u are calling troubles on uself coz for u to ve ur account credited is hell coz u call in speak to this good for nothing girl who doesnt know anything all she will say is i promise to call u bak sir/madam as soon as posible then u wait and wait…..imagine u ve an emegency to attend to….wat hapens?

    its just bull shit of its worst kind.sumthing has to be done.

    aitel,watch ur space and watch out

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  15. Zicta u are just toothless who cant bite people have been complaining all the time u do nothing on exploitation we have going through with this operator and i dont why they even have customer care when we are not even cared and zicta should should come up with a toll free number so that we can be calling them so that they start counting complaints coming from users

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  16. I am surprised to learn that ZICTA just discovered this. It has been there for ages because they regard a customer who calls three times a nuisance.
    Its time to change such attitude

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  17. Shame that it’s only now that “ZICTA has discovered that Airtel Zambia has an automated call blocking system in its call centre which bars all numbers that call the call centre more than three times in any particular day.” I have been a victim of this system and I think the explanation I got from customer care made sense and waz acceptable. I subscribe to Airtel, MTN and Zamtel and they each have their moments (low and high), but I must say am comfortable with all of them. Bring on a 4th or even 5th mobile service provider, we will join them!

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  18. Great – it seems Airtel may have to change its advertising jingle – “reaching out to the poor people…. up to three times a day.”

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  19. I don’t understand. Why are we giving them time to change? ZICTA or whoever they are must just to our protection. The Airtel service is just terrible. I am not sure whether the owners are aware of the poor service. If they do then they don’t deserve being around and have no interest in their customers. Very bad business ethic.

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  20. CHILL.

    Mobile companies BLOCK PRANK CALLERS IN EVERY COUNTRY. ITS A STANDARD AND INTERNATIONAL BEST PRACTICE. IT IS THE DUTY OF EVERY SERVICE PROVIDER TO PROTECT GENUINE USERS. THOSE BLOCKED ARE PRANK CALLERS AND ZICTA SHOULD HAVE KNOWN BEFORE RUSHING TO THE MEDIA. I HEAR STATEMENT HAS OR IS BEING WITHDRAWN. OPERATORS ACTION IS FOR OUR OWN GOOD, NOT FOR THOSE ABUSING CUSTOMER CALL CENTRES OF ANY SERVICE PROVIDER.
    :)

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  21. Airtel are thieves y stop customers from airing out their complaints while they are good at wrongly charging erroneous deductions of airtime from customers. However, hw never heard anyone whom they have credited some talk time by mistake. Ba airtel please u can do better.

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  22. ZICTA, check also MTN promotion price winning which they don’t pressent on the expense of stealing our money for topping up k5000 and more. This is obtaining money on false repentance. 

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  23. what ever the name, takwaba nakampane iyi chinjachinja amashina kwati kabwambe every after five years. Ba zicta clossed it as it is steeling from the zambian people. poor services. foolish.

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  24. Sir,
    Ir am an airtelcustomer and i am cheesed off with quality of service they provide. i have been
    dialling their 111 number and after several tries an irritating voice puts you to number where one hears
    music for five minutes and then cuts you off. this happened twice with me today 7th Feb 2012.
    I expect 5he customer care mgr. to contact me urgently.

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  25. i believe airtel is cheating becoz my balance shows i have used the bundle of 1.42 gb out of 2 gb. internet is getting off.

    no customer care person attending the phone calls. once we connected without surfing internet airtel is charging too much money.

    This is something like worse

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