Dialog Telekom’s false claims of HSPA+ at 28.8Mbps

I am not alone in being extremely concerned over Dialog Telekom’s reprehensible lies about its wireless broadband quality of service. Perhaps in response to Mobitel’s announcement earlier this month of HSPA+ wireless broadband trials, Dialog’s Darley Road office, amongst others, now sport banners suggesting that the company offers HSPA+ at 28.8Mbps.

The Daily Mirror report on the Mobitel HSPA+ trials notes that HSPA+ “… is capable of delivering downlink speeds of up to 28 Mbps.” Emphasis mine. On the other hand, Dialog’s posters and advertising explicitly mention HSPA+ speeds at 28.8Mbps. At used in this way denotes a particular point or segment on a scale. For example, driving at 50kmph means that you are not driving at 49kmph or 51kmph, or at an average of 30kmph. When Dialog promises HSPA+ at 28.8Mbps, this is precisely what a customer must then expect, all the time.

HSPA+ at 28.8Mbps?!
HSPA+ at 28.8Mbps?!

This is, unsurprisingly, not the case even in their trials currently showcased at their Darley Road office. Even on the two Dell laptops connected to their HSPA+ test signal, throughput at the time I was there never exceeded around 16.3Mbps (the laptop was using a download manager to get two large files, in separate locations, outside Dialog’s domain). Worse, the Dialog representative openly said that speeds of 28.8Mbps were not achievable in the real world. When I then pointed to the significant divide between what the Dialog poster propped next to us promised and what the customer would experience, the response I got was that upgrading the network to HSPA+ would benefit the entire customer base who would experience better throughput overall. The essential fallacy of the company’s advertising was simply not acknowledged. I also asked whether Dialog as part of its HSPA+ rollout, was going to guarantee a minimum throughput, to which the answer was no.

This is not the first time Dialog Telekom has attempted to beguile customers through misleading advertising. My own experience with the company in the past suggests marketing strategies significantly anchored to misinformation, tellingly acknowledged by its own employees.  Furthermore, independent think-tank Lirneasia has repeatedly exposed the great divide between promise and reality when it comes to wireless broadband from Sri Lankan telcos. My own office has three Dialog HSPA accounts and the network throughput on all of them even in metropolitan Colombo is pathetic. Repeated calls to Dialog were unable to resolve the pissant throughput that mirrors the experience of this blogger in 2008 and this blogger in 2009.

As Prof. Rohan Samarajiva from Lirneasia has noted in the past, “… all mobile operators [engage] in hype”. Rohan also avers that “UPTO is a weasel word. It is accurate even if all they give is 1 Kbps”. Significant user dissatisfaction with the blatant lies of leading Sri Lankan telcos are evident on the web. This endemic lying is not unique to Sri Lanka. Telcos in the United Kingdom were in 2008 found to be clearly at fault for deceiving customers over broadband speeds.

Yet given the absence of an Advertising Standards Authority in Sri Lanka that inter alia, holds telecoms companies responsible for misinformation, how can we ensure that the likes of Dialog Telekom and Mobitel are held accountable for the deception they continue to employ so blatantly?

6 thoughts on “Dialog Telekom’s false claims of HSPA+ at 28.8Mbps

  1. I’m not surprised. They promised download speeds that will go up to 7.2 mbps earlier. It rarely hits 1 mbps. I was thinking it will go up to at least 10 mbps. They shouldn’t disappoint us like this, with all false information. Hopefully no one will get caught to their lies. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Dialog is by far one of the worst companies I have dealt with. I had an HSPA connection that provided connection speeds of 10KB/S despite my location in central Colombo. It took me a month to get a technician out on site to confirm I had no signal and then it took me another three and a half months to get the connection disconnected and my device cost refunded. In the meantime despite I paid one months bill and was told the other months were being waived and I would get my deposit back. They then disconnected my regular line because of non-payment of the HSPA bill and in the end didn’t refund my deposit and didn’t even bother apologizing for all the inconvenience. Stay well away from Dialog, they are a complete bunch of morons.

  3. I had a funny experience too. When i had a much serious issue i insisted i spoke to their GM Marketing Mr.Nushad Perera whose number i managed to get through their call centre 0117100100 and 0777678678, funny thing happened when i tried to call him, the guy wasn’t in office, none responded, but it was a dialog number (—081234) or something if i remember correct, so i thought i’d send an SMS and ask him to call me back, then i got a message saying my SMS could NOT be delivered to that number, only to be followed by another message saying they have deducted Rs.1.31 from my KIT for the undelivered message i apparently sent to their own GM. How cruel and how cunning i thought. Then i managed to speak to his secretary whose name was Camy ( or Kami) who told me i couldn’t send SMS to his direct number.

    Well, if so, why the hell did they charge me for that SMS then? When i stood firm i was put through to Mr.Suren Gunewardena (CEO of Internet division) who appologized and did justice. Within 10 Minutes he returned my call and my connection was restored within the next 10 minutes. In fact he was a cool dude (if not a cunning professional who handled the situ diplomatically) and finally i was treated in a fair manner.

    Thing is like everything else in Srilanka Dialog too sucks. But when you stand firm and threaten them with lawsuits, bad PR and consumer affairs litigations, they tend to back off and give in with an appology, but sometimes its too late by then. Their call centre is full of morons who don’t understand english let alone a customer complaint. But one must stick to one’s guns when dealing with these idiots. Only then can you expect a decent service for the money we pay them. Please complain to their CEO at hans@dialog.lk. I am sure he will look into this and do justice. Best of luck.

    Sorry i wish to remain anonymous for obvious reasons.

  4. I too hate dialog broadband connections that I have, it’s very slow. When I switched to Mobitel, it had 1Mbps download speed as they mentioned.

    I propose everyone to get broadband from Mobitel. It’s so far good and cheap.

  5. I’ve decided to upgrade to a much more expensive SLT ADSL office package and so far the speeds been holding. I’ve the need to prove an upload speed of 0.3 and signed up to Mobitel’s Zoom 1290 package only to show (using speedtest.net) the guy at Unity Plaza (he said he learned something from this) trying to sell me a dongle for Rs. 9000 that the speed was only 0.09 (it was 7 p.m.). Cheap is the Mobitel package but is it ever possible to get an upload speed of 0.3mbps with either Dialog or Mobitel? The SLT teleshop guys in Mount are really helpful and if I don’t need to continue with this expensive alternative its very easily done with minimal cost. I don’t think its possible to do this with any other provider. The Home package was giving me problems as the service was done more than once recently and I hope this does not happen with the Office package. Wish me luck! Now let’s see if Mobitel gives me back my refundable deposit!

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