The CITC is finally awake


Okaz newspaper

A FEW days back the local newspapers reported that the Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC) finally woke up from its long slumber and asked companies providing the Internet services to correct a number of violations it had noticed in some of their packages and promotional offers.

It referred the erring companies to a disciplinary committee to look into the violations with a view to punishing them.

This news can be considered a good beginning in the relationship between the telecom companies and their customers.

This relationship has always been slanted in favor of one party, which is the service provider. The customers were powerless despite the existence of a full-fledged Ministry of Communications and Information Technology.

This ministry, with enough staff and equipment, was further enhanced by the creation of the CITC with a view to giving momentum to the communications sector in the Kingdom.

Despite the presence of two government bodies monitoring them, the telecom companies have been operating as they wished and the customer has no option except submitting to their conditions.

Our experience with the telecommunication companies has been a disturbing one from a number of aspects. If we talk about their prices we will find that they are the highest in the region. In fact their prices are more expensive than the countries known for high prices and huge service taxes.

A number of social media activists made a comparison between the prices of our telecom companies and those in the rest of the world and came to the conclusion that the prices in the Kingdom has no parallel anywhere in the world.

I am talking here about the mobile phone calling rates and the fees for Internet services.

On the other hand, if we talk about the quality of the Internet services, we will find that it is without doubt the worst in the world.

These services to say the least are substandard in many of our cities and towns. The quality of our telecommunication companies comes at the bottom of the list when compared with many small countries with limited resources.

In addition to this, manipulation is a common factor between all of these service providers without exception to the point that we may say some of them have become really professional in cheating customers through promotional offers.

We are not talking about a secondary service that we can do without but the Internet has become a necessity to everybody. This important and fundamental service comes top in the consumers’ bills so the companies should not manipulate their prices or flout quality regulations.

The mobile service-providing companies have gained billions of riyals and have been milking the customers for many long years. We hope the final awakening of the CITC would ensure the customers of their rights and stop exploitation by telecommunication companies, which should be obliged to provide consummate services to justify the huge amounts of money they charge from their clients.