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31 January, 2006

Mind-blowing phone bill

It is no surprise that this man had his appeal against a five-million-dirham phone bill rejected by the UAE courts.

He claimed that "a computer error could have caused the bill to soar to astronomical levels". A nice try. But this is Etisalat we're talking about, not some progressive telco open to using new fangled devices such as the "internet" to reduce call costs. A few peak rate calls to Mongolia and the Marshall Islands, and you'll rack up a million dirhams in no time.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

i do get huge etisalat phone bills as well. however, i have encouraged my retired folks to seriously start learning how to use the internet so that we can chat through YM rather than talk. how sad.

31 January, 2006 13:03  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Five Million Bucks! WHere was he calling,,,MARS?! Sweet Jesus, it has to be a glitch...but he has a hope in hell that he can flight against the claims of Etisalat - the no. one telecommuniations provider by far!

31 January, 2006 13:10  
Blogger Garthicus said...

That is pure madness. How can ANYONE rack up that much in phone calls? Impossible.. unless it's a major call centre making calls all over the world 24hrs a day...

Not surprised at the verdict though...

31 January, 2006 13:12  
Blogger Neglected-ism said...

This is insane...

31 January, 2006 13:20  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shocking indeed. I really don't see how a person could rack up such a bill unless he's been leasing his line to others for international calls. Or as is common in many other countries, hackers stealing his telephone line for the same purpose. Hey, maybe its one of those internet dialers "for great pr0n", that dial straight to some number in St. Louis or the Vanatu islands costing AED6 a min. Thats a lot of pr0n surfing! I hear even they hijack your line and you end up footing the bill.

Seriously though, I would say its very lucky this victim is a local. If the legal system cant help him, he can always go down the wasta route and get the bill waived. Hell, I've heard of many people getting their massive bills signed off by Shk Mo himself! Alright so maybe it isn't that easy...but I shudder to think what might have happened if it was some poor expat.

31 January, 2006 13:25  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well I am shocked they actually didn't cut his lines !!!!!

"Seriously though, I would say its very lucky this victim is a local. If the legal system cant help him, he can always go down the wasta route and get the bill waived. Hell, I've heard of many people getting their massive bills signed off by Shk Mo himself! Alright so maybe it isn't that easy...but I shudder to think what might have happened if it was some poor expat."

What are you applying that only expats are always the victims cause they have no access to wasta?
Not all locals have any sort of access to wasta especially when it comes to payments and debts! and what you heard is 100% wrong, Shk. Mohammed bin Rashed, doesn't sign papers off papers dropping off the bills! If as you claim that "Wasta" for locals work in ALL CASES, than you wouldnt see this man in court from the first place!

31 January, 2006 14:00  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

correction not applying implying!

31 January, 2006 14:00  
Blogger hdastoor said...

At Dh.6/minute / call

Dh.5,000,000 at Dh.6/min/call=578 days of nonstop Calling/internet/pornography.Is that humanly possible.

Dh.5,000,000 at Dh.15/min/call=230 days of nonstop calling/internet/pornography.
Is that humanly possible

Is Etisalat bonkers,is that judge bonkers.There is more to this story than a simple bill.But then you have Etisalat,where Mr.Obeid(PRO) releases a press statement last year that 2 ships in Indian ocean simultaneously sink and simultaneously cut off two steel underwater cables and expect us to believe his crap

31 January, 2006 14:26  
Blogger secretdubai said...

Realistically, the only way a bill this high could be rung up would be through this man's line being used for some major dialling scam. Let's assume - though Etisalat usually bills monthly - that this bill was spread out over a year.

That's Dh13,698 per day. Even calling Mongolia peak rate (which you can't do anyway), that's 23 and a half hours worth of calls every single day a day.

So the only other option would be calling international premium lines, such as adult phone services. Let's assume they cost US$10 per minute (it may be a lot higher). That's nearly six hours of calling every day, 365 days per year.

God knows what was going on with this telephone line, but it was something intriguing.

31 January, 2006 14:28  
Blogger samuraisam said...

My look at this

unfortunately there is no specification whether he was a business user or a home user.

31 January, 2006 14:31  
Blogger samuraisam said...

oh ya, btw, if my calculations are correct, he would've had to have racked up 115.74074074074074074074074074074 dhs a minute to have received a 5 million dirham bill...

31 January, 2006 14:32  
Blogger archer14 said...

I don't think this is a telephone bill problem, there is absolutely no way he could spend 115.74 Dhs/minute.
It could be that he has defaulted on payments from around 3 months
This might be some leased line and the rate could be calculated on the amount of data downloaded. It is 100% possible that the ignorant cavemen at Khaleej Times don't know what a leased line is...:-P After all cellphones use 'the' bluetooth according to them.

31 January, 2006 15:15  
Blogger samuraisam said...

trust me when I say Etisalat isn't nice about people who don't pay phone bills, if you don't pay it for sometimes less than a week after it's due, they cut off all your phones.
Even so with cable internet lines, otherwise my parents could pay them all from the stupid etisalat machine, but you can't pay for cable internet using those damn machines, and I don't know why, you can't pay for it online either. so it's a pain in the ass to go alllll the way to the Etisalat office especially with their weird office hours, I think they know this, and do it on purpose, for instance I subscribed to GPRS on my mobile for the charge of 10 dhs a month, I didn't really use it enough to warrant paying that amount, and my credit kept on dropping down to -10 dhs, so I called them up and asked them to cancel it, they said i'd have to visit the Etisalat office and file a form! even though I could sign up for the service entirely over the phone!
Waiting in line at Etisalat is the worst possible punishment ever, not in the bill paying queue, but to process and documents for new phones etc, don't expect a quick in>out procedure.

31 January, 2006 15:31  
Blogger archer14 said...

As per Etisalats International Private Leased Circuit Monthly Charges given here, a 155Mb line costs 1.8 Million Dh/month. 3 connections would fit the bill.
however, this is not the case IMHO.

31 January, 2006 15:44  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Trying to get anything done at their offices is like slow death slowed down.

It's just archaic.

Reminds me though of the last time I went from Singapore to Bintan Island (Indonesia). before there was just one bloke at passport control. You get your stamp and off you go. Last time (Aug 05) there were six people!

You handed over the passport and it was scanned, they then handed it to someone else who checked it again, then it was passed again and had a sticker put in, then it was stamped by some one else and then finally checked by onther person and they handed it back.

When I ask my father, who lives in Singapore, what the hell was going on he explained that because of the chronic unemployment the government made everthing more complex just to create jobs for the locals.

Hmmmmm..... sounds familier.

So much could be done via the web but you have to do everything in person for banking and governmental requirements.

31 January, 2006 16:12  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those idiots at Etisalat; I wish I could talk about the fling they had with me, and for 4 months!
Anyway, a lady friend whose children ran a one month bill up to DHS 10,000 Etisalat told her that it was due to ‘too much’ DSL upload!! I am just tired of trying to make sense of Etisalat’s voodoo systems.
I’m all teeth and nails to divest once the new telecom are in place

31 January, 2006 16:21  
Blogger Seabee said...

You guys must be wrong about Etisalat - look what they say on their website;

Etisalat, as part of its ongoing commitment to offer the very best service at competitive prices...

Something to report to the Consumer Protection Agency when we get one!

31 January, 2006 16:46  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry for hijacking this post SD, but did anyone witness the protest march at Mamzar a few days ago against the Danish newspaper?
It was astonishing, yet you understand the sentiments. Being a non-muslim and a member of the media, I must say that while the newspaper was being crude, does it really justify the boycott of all things Danish and the attack of two innocent people who had the simple misfortune of working for a Danish company?
When will this all end...?
PS: Sorry again SD...

31 January, 2006 16:54  
Blogger samuraisam said...

in other news;
The UAE’s Emirates Telecommunications Corporation (Etisalat) has announced that its revenues increased to Dh12.9 billion ($3.512 billion) in 2005, an increase of 23 per cent over 2004, and net profits rose to Dh4.3 billion ($1.17 billion), up by 25 per cent from 2004.

31 January, 2006 17:29  
Blogger BrainSyke said...

good God! I hate how KT reports things. There are so many obvious questions the reporter did not bother to answer in his/her article. I find that very frustrating as always.

31 January, 2006 19:22  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whatever comes, I bet this guy is going to have to pay that 5 million dirhams. A few years ago, my mobile was stolen at a party. This was around 1998 when the per minute charges were atrocious. We called Etisalat right away to disconnect the line. But since they were doing some maintenance on their phone accounting systems, they could not disconnect the line immediately. All in all, they disconnected the line 2 days later and demanded that we pay the Dhs 3,500 bill racked up by the jerk who stole my phone. And I got reprimanded for being at a party.

Classic Etisalat.

31 January, 2006 19:26  
Blogger Keef said...

He approached the Supreme Federal Court, saying that the verdicts of the lower courts were unjustified since they had rejected his plea for the appointment of an actuary to assess the records of Etisalat.

An actuary?! Presumably to assess what the chances are of someone running up such a stupendous bill.

Well done KT - maintaining the highest standards of misleading, inaccurate and frankly baffling reporting.

31 January, 2006 20:58  
Blogger Jenny Foreigner said...

Anonymous, if you want to discuss the Danish controversy, I have printed an (editorially independent) history of events on my blog and would be interested in information about the protest march. (Hope thatdoesn't sound like hijacking). The Religious Policeman has also been posting regularly on this topic.

31 January, 2006 21:02  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To all those still on dial up... word is that we will soon be úpgraded' to DSL

31 January, 2006 21:26  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If my British neighbour called me and my family smelly Pakis would I burn the Union Jack and stop shopping at Marks and Spencer? Of course not. The blame for the offense lies squarely on the individual and the organisation that employs him. Why blame the entire nation. The Allies have just killed thousands of Iraqis and shown disrespect to our holy book yet millions of Arabs still feast on big macs! It all smacks of insecurity and a lack of self esteem in the Arab world. You should have a strong enough faith maturity and confidence in ones culture to withstand insults and criticism. It's time we grew up!

31 January, 2006 21:27  
Blogger samuraisam said...

Talking about the whole Danish cartoons issue on the internet is really going to achieve absolutely nothing.

I want to hear more bad stories about etisalat.

31 January, 2006 22:17  
Blogger secretdubai said...

Agreed. There are so many other discussions going on about this, it would be repetitive here. I would direct people instead to:

Dubai Consumer Mirror
Jenny Foreigner
Religious Policeman

who already have active discussions going on.

31 January, 2006 22:25  
Blogger Mazhar Fakher said...

I say open up telecoms, introduce competition and start taxing all expats on their calls- you'd still save money

31 January, 2006 22:32  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Question: I'm not from the UAE, but I would like to live there someday. I checked the Etisalat website for their rates, and they seem to be ridiculously high--Off peak to the US is 1.37 AED/min, or about $0.37 US/min. I can call from India to the US for about $0.11/min. One would think/hope that a country with such high living standards would have First-World Call Rates, but even to call the UAE from the US costs $0.28/min, or about 1 AED. And what's with the 4.20 AED surcharge. Please don't tell me you have to pay that on every call you make. Also, has anyone used Yahoo! Messenger, which I believe allows calls to the US from anywhere in the world for $0.01 US/min?

01 February, 2006 03:37  
Blogger secretdubai said...

Jason - sadly yes, you do have to pay those charges. Many people use VoIP applications, such as Skype and presumably Yahoo, but Etisalat is looking at ways to block that. They have a very backwards mentality on telephony here.

01 February, 2006 08:47  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The point is They Dont Care about the expats! Why should they? They're keeping their people happy! They'll continue to post 12billion profits. 'DoBuy Inc.' is one hell of an enterprise!

The consumer will never have a choice in anything... wanna buy a car? The monopolies there make a 20% minimum as margins. Wanna get a roof over your head? Then pay 60,000/yr for a 35yr. old bldg. Wanna send your kids to a decent school? Okay, fork out another '30 big ones' per year per child! Wanna go to a hospital for treatment of your right leg and not get the left one amputated? Shell out another suitcase full of dough!

Its not just the gov. enterprises that make the money. The whole setup allows all non-expats to make a lot of money here. If I were a non-expat, I'd love what my county's doing for me - so what if we're bleeding half the population dry?! A non-expat has to be a real... I mean REAL idiot to not be making money here!

The only reason one 'should' stay is if one's making significantly more than what one's spending - else join the exit line! Its a pity expats like myself, who've been here since birth, dont have a choice at all! We cant even go anywhere!

01 February, 2006 12:06  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

With taxes, things will only get worse!

01 February, 2006 14:20  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shepherds will compete in the construction of tall buildings

01 February, 2006 14:49  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


01 February, 2006 15:08  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You may be an atheist or an agnostic or you may belong to any of the religious denominations that exist in the world today. You may have been a Communist or a believer in democracy and freedom. No matter what you are, and no matter what your religious and political beliefs, personal and social habits happen to be – you still must know this man.

He was by far the most remarkable man that ever set foot on this earth. He preached a religion, founded a state, built a nation, laid down a moral code, initiated numberless social and political reforms, established a dynamic and powerful society to practice and represent his teachings, and he revolutionized the worlds of human thought and human action for all time.

His name was Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him)-and he accomplished all these wonders in the unbelievably short span of twenty-three years.

Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) was born in Arabia in 570 C.E., and when he died at the age of 63, the whole of the Arabian Peninsula had changes from paganism and idol worship to the worship of One God; from tribal quarrels and wars to national solidarity and cohesion; from drunkenness and debauchery to sobriety and piety; from lawlessness and anarchy to disciplined living; from utter moral bankruptcy to the highest standards of moral excellence. Human history has never known such a complete transformation of a people or a place before or since.

The Encyclopedia Britannica calls him “the most successful of all religious personalities of the world.” George Bernard Shaw said, “if Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) were alive today, he would succeed in solving all those problems which threaten to destroy human civilization in our times.” Thomas Carlyle was amazed as to how one man, single-handedly, could weld warring tribes and wandering Bedouins into a most powerful and civilized nation in less than two decades.

Indeed no other human being ever accomplished so much, in such diverse fields of human thought and behavior, in so limited a space of time, as did Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him). He was a religious teacher, a social reformer, a moral guide, a political thinker, a military genius, an administrative colossus, a faithful friend, a wonderful companion, a devoted husband, a loving father-all in one. No other man in history ever excelled or equaled him in any of these difficult departments of life.

Muhammad was a man with a noble and exalted mission -and his unique mission was to unite humanity in the worship of the One and only God and to teach them the way to honest and upright living in accordance with the laws and commands of God. He always described himself as a messenger and servant of God, as indeed every single action and movement of his proclaimed him to be.

Today, after the lapse of some 1400 years, the life and teachings of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), have survived without the slightest loss, alteration or interpolation. Today they offer the same undying hope for treating mankind’s many ills which they did when Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) was alive. This is our honest claim and this is the inescapable conclusion forced upon us by a critical and unbiased study of history.

The least you should do as a thinking, sensitive, concerned human being is to stop for one brief moment and ask yourself: Could it be that these statements, extraordinary and revolutionary as they sound, are really true? Supposing they really are true, and you did not know this man Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) or hear about his teachings? Or did not know him well and intimately enough to be able to benefit from his guidance and example? Is it not time you responded to this tremendous challenge and made some effort to know him? It will not cost you anything but it may well prove to be the beginning of a completely new era in your life.


* Excerpted with slight modifications from You Must Know Him

01 February, 2006 15:56  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

obviously the last poster was not Danish or Nordic

01 February, 2006 16:01  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Am I imagining it or does the last poster of 31 Jan (22:32) wish to insult himself with an impolite handle?

01 February, 2006 16:20  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


01 February, 2006 16:26  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why do you have to say PBUH every time? Surely once you've said it once then you've done your bit.

This is an honest question!

01 February, 2006 16:50  
Blogger Mr Smith said...

unbelievable that a monopoly can turn in such ludicrous profits - they should be providing a SERVICE and not seeing how much they can fleece us.

average Vodaphone profit per client $120. Average Etishit profit $300+ !!!

says a lot doesnt it when a monopoly is > DOUBLE a business acting in a competitive environment. .... Maybe Etishit should live in the real world

01 February, 2006 17:41  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@Anonymous said
@Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him)

Are you some kind of a Hadji picketing at an airport gate or you think this post is about Friday prayers? Did you read the post properly or you simply good at grafting mishmash topics like the new ‘reborn whatever’ do when they rampage other posts?

When you juxtapose try to adhere to the concerned issues, otherwise, you will obscure your basic idea.

01 February, 2006 18:43  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Probably 30 years ago in the U.S. when there was still a telecom monopoly, there was a comic who claimed ATT's motto was "We're the phone company. We don't care. We don't have too!"

Plus ça change . . .

01 February, 2006 21:46  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you guys heard of the yearly 4-5 months salary bonus for etisalat employees? with the release of last year's profits I guess its bonus time....


02 February, 2006 23:35  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ETISALAT ROCKS! Damn! What time will EITC come on service? Soon..?

03 February, 2006 23:01  
Blogger Parv said...

See, I consider myself extremely IT savvy - gosh, I have to be in my line of work. A couple of years ago, my phone bill featured some questionable "calls" to the Tokelau islands. Heck, I don't even know where this is.

Upon inquiring with Etisalat, I was told it "must be some software" I downloaded! Being an IT professional, I argued that I wasn't some 14yr old pRon surfer, and not in the habit of d/l things off the net unless I verified it was from a reliable source. My arguments fell on deaf ears, and I was charged for the "calls" to Tokelau.

How funny that only a week later, a PR bunny friend, a Creative Director friend, and a Cabin Crew friend were also discovered making secret calls to the forbidden isles of Tokelau!

04 February, 2006 09:07  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

so we can use long distance call card...its better

31 March, 2008 07:53  

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