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Rough Cuts: Taking prospective customers to a ride

About two years ago the Manuel Pangilinan-led Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT) through its contractors started stringing fiber optic lines in preparation for extending its landline and internet services to residents in some rural barangays in Calinan-Tugbok district down to Tigatto.
When people learned about it they were ecstatic that finally they could easily communicate with their relatives and friends residing in the urban areas of the city as well as anywhere in the country and the world using the internet services.
Two groups were doing the line stringing. One group was stringing the fiber optic line from Calinan to Barangay Talomo River to Biao Joaquin, up to Talandang crossing New Valencia. Another contractor was undertaking the line stringing from the PLDT Exchange facilities in Buhangin down to Tigatto, passing to Waan up to Magtuod, New Carmen, to New Valencia up to where it meets with the line emanating from Calinan.
Towards December of 2017 there were already some account executives advising residents in the areas that as early as February 2018 those households interested to have telephone and internet services installed can already start applying.
February 2018 came but the over-eager account executives were no shows anymore in the houses they have earlier visited. Then came and went the months of March, April, May, June, July, August and September of the same year. We already saw PLDT-marked poles installed from Calinan to Talandang. Later, we saw digital boxes installed on the poles.
Residents again started following up at the Calinan office of PLDT inquiring whether they can already start applying for service connections. The answer of PLDT representatives in its Calinan office was, once we saw that the digital boxes are already assigned a particular numbers by October of last 2018 they can already apply.
October, then November and December came to a close putting an end to 2018. But still, there were no numbers assigned on the boxes. The residents interested to get telephone and internet services started losing hope. There was not a single account executive that made follow-ups on their earlier sales pitch.
We too, who have been hoping that finally we can have a landline telephone and internet connection in our rural residence in one of the supposedly to be served barangays in Tugbok district, felt extremely dismayed. PLDT who has been banding around as a world-class communications service provider miserably failed to communicate to its would-be customers the reason why after two years since the lines were started to be strung the services have not been started.
If it were not for a new friend, a businessman who has bought a 4-hectare property close to that of our family’s, we would not have known that the contractor undertaking the line and gadget installations from the Buhangin-New Valencia side of the project, reportedly committed a serious error in its work. We have no idea whether the contractor was ordered to re-do his failed job or is being charged in court.
But true or not the fact is, PLDT owes the people an explanation why the said project has become a long, long wait for those who are hoping its completion to come on the time earlier committed by the telecommunications giant.
And what is this we hear that the telecommunications company is already making preparatory moves that will assure that their existing and new customers will not abandon them when the new Telco becomes operational?
According to a new subscriber we talked with last Saturday, when she applied for a telephone and internet connections she paid a specific amount under a contract providing a 3-year term before she can change service provider.
But less than a year after her signing of the contract she was offered a gadget – a tablet – that will supposedly enhance the quality of the internet service in her residence. It was offered for free. According to her, since the amount she is going to pay monthly remains the same as it is in her service contract, she decided to get the tablet.
The catch however, is that, upon accepting the gadget she has to sign an amended contract that she cannot transfer to another service provider within three years after the signing of that new service agreement.
Now that’s how PLDT prepares against the onset of a new competitor, di ba?

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