Is Zain Bahrain Leeching Their Customers?

Right now there is a battle of the telcos going on in Bahrain ever since Viva launched their services. Batelco and Zain (formerly MTC Vodafone) are coming up with offers from mobile services to broadband to retain or even gain some more customers in the process.

One of the most important factors people end up going from one to another, or signing up for a new service is price. At the moment they are all very competitive, some even have complicated packages (first minute rate X, second rate Y, between time A and B rate Z). At the end of the day, if you understand clearly how much you will get charged there should be no problem.

I currently have 2 mobile lines active, my old Zain number and recently a Viva number. The Zain is still active since some stuff are still registered using that number as a contact. I do get better signal with my Viva in my area, Zain towers for some reason doesn’t like my home.

Anyway, back to the topic. When I registered to Zain I knew my package was the “normal” eeZee, which charges BHD0.043/minute (43 Fils per minute), no matter how much I talk. This was back when I got my line (2005?). Now with all this competition I thought Zain would decide to lower their rates. So I visit the Zain “eeZee Price Plans” page, and it looks cheaper (screenshots in case they find out their mistake and decide to edit):

Zain 7ada eeZee:

Zain eeZee (for extended usage):

Zain eeZee (for occasional usage):

Zain eeZee International:

As you can see rates for “Other Networks” are either BHD0.040/minute (40 Fils per minute) or BHD0.045/minute (45 Fils per minute). No where in that page do I see 43 Fils/minute. I figured I am probably in the eeZee occasional usage group, which should charge me 40 Fils/minute to whatever network. I decided it was time to call their customer service center. The call transcript was something like this:

Me: “Hello, I would like to know the rate for the regular eeZee please”.

Zain: “We have many eeZee packages, which one?”.

Me: “The package for this line I am calling from”.

Zain: “Hold on please, let me check”.


Zain: “Your package is 43 Fils/minute, 32 Fils/minute on Fridays”.

Me: “I saw on the website there is a package for 40 Fils/minute”.

Zain: “But your package is 43 Fils/minute, 32 Fils/minute on Fridays”.

Me: “Do you have any package that charges 40 Fils/minute?”.

Zain: “We have many eeZee packages, which one are you talking about?”.

(That’s like saying “we sell many plastic cups, which one do you want?” to someone who has no idea on the brand…)

Me: “I don’t know which one, I found one that charges 40 Fils/minute on your website”.

Zain: “But your package is 43 Fils/minute, 32 Fils/minute on Fridays”.

At this point I decided to end the call by adding and replacing a few words in the above sentence, followed by the “thank you, good bye”.

Me: “So my package is 43 Fils/minute… 32 Fridays… Thank you”.

Of course the call actually ended with the mandatory “Can I help you with anything else?”.

Back to the topic of this post now: “Is Zain Bahrain leeching their customers?”. To be more precise, old customers that have registered many years ago (since I am being charged the old rates).

I don’t want to repeat the same conversation above at one of their outlets without some crackers for their parrots…

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