Etisalat - The Epilogue

I know that there are alot of folk waiting for the continuation of the coffee series BUT, I have this post blocking my thinking process, so best get it out.

It's been more than a week now since our 21 day adventure ended.

First and foremost, we are grateful to be connected again. We could easily get by back in Australia with no internet at home.

Here EVERYTHING is reliant upon it, particularly with a less than usual work arrangement like mine as I spend so much time on the road and out of the office.

Even so...

...I understand that things take time.

...that the sheer enormity of funnelling giga-lumps of information all over the place is no small feat.

I get that. I really do.

What I don't understand is the lack of honest service and preponderance of scripted front of house answers. A tactic I suspect to confuse and dismay the client, and leave them so grateful for such horrendous service that we are as beggars, kneeling for the smallest hint of technological kindness... our bowls empty. Our many appliances impotent, left aside.

During the disconnection period (we were assured 3-5 days maximum)we were placed in the unfortunate position of having Australia, our home country, suffer significant flooding, then the largest cyclone to hit Australia arrived in the north, the south flooded again, the west saw some of the worst bushfires in decades... 

...and Egypt had a revolution.

Rightly, ALL of the news services were covering the world shaking events happening not far from here in the land of the Nile, pyramids gleaming on the horizon.

The ONLY information we could glean re: Australia(we have friends and or family in ALL of the areas hit by each of the natural disasters) came from brief snippets on BBC World service and the very occasional sound bite amid the extraordinary news coming out of Egypt, and expensive mobile phone calls.

With internet we could have been more connected. There was nothing we could have done of course, but at least we could have stayed more abreast of things, we could have been less worried.

Are those situations all about me? No.

What is about me/us is that every time we contacted Etisalat during this period we weren't given anything that could remotely be considered reasonable customer service.

Here's the thing Etisalat:

If it was going to take 21 days. Just say so.

No big deal. We could just get on with life, and resign ourselves to the snippets of access to world information available to us.

Don't say something will happen tomorrow, when you don't have the power or the connections to guarantee such a promise. A friend once said that the easiest way to send someone crazy - nutsoid-crazy, want-to-hit-something-with-a-bat-crazy - is to offer them something, then take it away then offer again, then take it away, offer, refuse and so on.

AND don't charge us for the privilege of having to schedule 3 weeks of having to keep ourselves close to home lest we should be called upon to attend.

Don't tell us (on 6 occasions) that there would be a call made, when actually there wouldn't be.

Don't say 15 days in that "there is something wrong with your application when first processed" and then offer no explanation on what. (another stalling tactic)

Experiences mirrored  by friends and strangers, not just on connection but on change of service issues, billing, handset pickups...

There is something particularly flawed with a company that people feel uncomfortable about approaching to resolve some issue or other, in case there is a screw up that leaves them disconnected (and tellingly... still debited) from their service.

The front line folk, the poor saps that have to pick up the phone at Etisalat customer servoce, were friendly, but were too obviously just 'handlers'.

"Can you put me through to the technical department"
"No, I can only send an email on your behalf"
"Give me the email address and I will contact them directly"
"No Sir"
"But you can"
"Yes I will sir, I see you have contacted us 19 times"
"you understand that we are frustrated?"
"Yes sir"

The part that we didn't bother with was ye olde "Can you put me through to your supervisor"
A request, I have heard from 5 different sources leads to the phone call being ended.

Presumably because the "manager" phone is an open line sitting in a server room somewhere, blinking quietly as it cuts off person after person...

A tactic that enrages the client, but stalls the process due to the client finding themselves for many hours curled up in a ball, moaning quietly, then going through the whole futile process again.

The person at the other end of the Twitter address @EtisalatUAE was super friendly, but again lacked alot of the power to ensure the promises that I hope they were being given, and then were passing on to me, were met.

They called after I railed against Etislag on twitter. They spoke to my wife, called again to make sure that nothing was missed out as the call had accidentally dropped, THEN they sent a text to confirm.

They were great, but the information they were being fed was spurious, 3 times they informed my wife or me that someone would call 'Later today'

3 times that promise was not met.

After we were finally connected (again by a team of grinning and friendly technicians)I contacted @EtisalatUAE to let them know. I suggested in that missive that there was a serious flaw in the system, they replied.

"Thanks for letting us know, apologies things took longer than they should have"


If the comments on the previous post are any indication, then this is not an isolated case.

Just apologising for bad service does nothing to improve the system. A system that is based purely on 'They'll wait, what are they going to do?' is a system that will ultimately fail.

True competition is desperately required here in the middle east. Etisfat has had it way too good thus far. A professional overseas company would scare hell out of them.

In a week.

Simply by keeping the client informed, and being realistic about what they have the capacity to offer.


  1. Here are my top 10 etisalat fails:

    1. Box installed within 2 days of application. Great! Informed that all that was to be done was to activate the account which involved flicking a switch or something. This would be done within 24 hours. 24 hours, then 48 hours go by. Not connected. Call etisalat. Told we'd be connected within 24 hours. 24 hours go by, not connected. Call etisalat again. Same same. And so on.

    2. After 5 or so calls we ask to speak to a manager. Line goes dead. Call back, ask to be put through to a manager. Line goes dead. Repeat third time. Line dead. Scream and smash phone on floor. There is no manager so why not just say so instead of hanging up on your customers?

    3. Fix phone and calm down. Call back. Lodge a complaint. Told someone would get back to us within 48 hours. 48 hours go by. Nothing.

    4. Call again. We keep calling because a friend told us that if you leave it for more than 4 days without calling, etisalat decides your complaint has been resolved. Even though nothing has happened. Except many many futile calls. On this call we are told that they see that we have complained, but nothing can be done about our complaint until 14 days has passed. Why? Nothing can be done until 14 days has passed. But nothing will happen in those 14 days, it's just dead time. Yes. But wait 14 days. Argh!

    5. After 14 days. Call again. 24 hours. Nothing. Call again. Manager. Beeeeep. Line dead. Call again 24 hours. Wait 24 hours. SOMEONE CALLS! A tech guy comes. He figures out that etisalat activated the wrong line. Line gets activated. We have internet.

    6. It has been over a month and we have been charged for one month of internet despite having none. Lodge complaint... Repeat step 4.

    7. Never get money back. Write off that month.

    8. A month after being connected, internet goes off. Many calls happen. But, we have the mobile number of the tech guy. He helps. Etisalat have duplicated our username and have cut us off.

    9. Told we have to re set up our account. How do we do this. Go to the internet... We don't have internet, you cut us off. Resolve this, painfully.

    10. Central box frequently shuts off (we live in a compound). After the second time we learn how to re set the box ourselves.

    And have had internet ever since...

  2. From Z.F. on Facebook.

    Hello. :)
    This cuts close to home! My internet has been disconnected for 53 days - since Etisilate came into my home (on their request) to do some wiring work. I've called them 3 times (I know, I'm not a squeaky enough wheel ... but ...I CAN"T BEAR to deal with them again (it took 2 months to get internet in the first instance and it has never worked as wireless)). I'm thinking about ending the relationship for good and trying Du. Of course, even trying to end the service is a major hassle.
    Life in the ME huh!

    Enjoying your posts!

  3. That's ridiculous. The word from Etisalat is that the situation at Abudhabilist HQ was outside normal service.

    From the posts here and on the Facebook fan page it seems that there is some truth to that... NORMAL service is way worse.

    I'd love to be in the room when the audit for performance evaluation was being carried out.

    Thanks for your posts!


Andrew Webber is a writer, living in Abu Dhabi with his wife, two cats and two dogs.

His first book "Erasure" was published in June 2012 and was followed in 2013 by the Prequel to Erasure, "Broken".

In 2016 Erasure was a prize winner in the Montegrappa Writing Prize - part of the Emirates Airlines Festival of Literature.

For more information click the "Erasure" book cover on the left side of this site, or simply go to

Thanks for visiting.