Clampdown on SIM card racketeers in Bahrain
Manama, March 16, 2010
Racketeers are bumping up prices for VIVA Bahrain prepaid SIM mobile phone cards by more than seven-fold, as customers rush to jump the queue.
Bahrain's newest mobile telecom operator has pledged to crackdown on rogue retailers, threatening to bring in police if necessary.
Scores of retailers, who buy in bulk from the company, have been selling the BD2 pre-paid connection card for as much as BD15, said VIVA Bahrain chief executive officer Ibrahim Abdulrahman Al Omar.
He said that any retailer caught selling SIM cards at a premium would be barred from doing business with the company.
'People are buying the SIM cards off these unscrupulous people because it saves them the bother of queuing up at our counters,' Al Omar told our sister newspaper Gulf Daily News (GDN).
'However, we have taken steps to prevent such dealings and have warned retailers not to indulge in such practices.
'The Industry and Commerce Ministry's Consumer Protection Directorate will also be involved in the crackdown.
'We are considering seeking the help of the police if this deplorable practice does not stop immediately.'
He said that the company was working to speed up providing phone numbers at its own outlets and was urging people to report rogue dealers.
'It is our reputation that is at stake,' said Al Omar.
'People are desperate to take advantage of our offers and want to begin as soon as possible, but we urge them to go about it the right way.
'However, we need help from the public and we urge them to let us know if a retailer asks for a premium.'
He said that around 75,000 people had registered with the company prior to the formal services launch.
'However, at least 50 per cent more people than those who registered (in advance) are already using our services,' said Omar.
'Bahrain has welcomed us with open arms and we are determined to giveback to them with our state-of-the-art services.'
Al Omar said the company's 'your subscription is your credit' post paid mobile and 21.1mbps broadband Internet offers have been instant hits.
'Over the next few weeks, we will bring out new offers that are sure to revolutionise the Bahrain telecoms market,' he said.-TradeArabia News Service