25 August, 2007

SMS from 77013: The first MTC-Vodafone WAR!

I keep getting SMS adverts on my Vodafone number from No. 77013. These are messages aimed at tweens edging the consumer to listen to "Cool songs", as if that is an added value to anything.

Two days ago, I called 107 (the MTC Vodafone help desk) and asked for this to be turned off. The lady said Ok and was rather polite, I hung up.

Today I got another message from 77013. This says:
" وإسمع أغاني موطبيعية حدها فن B رد"
I was furious. usually, the MTC help desk is an example of politeness and efficiency. I called back.
Another lady picked up, I told her that this is the second time I call about this. She offered to give me instructions and I had to send an SMS to a number to unsubscribe.
I said NO.
I DID NOT subscribe to anything and therefore will NOT unsubscribe. I told them they should cease this immediatly.
Then came something that was shocking for me, the lady told me that MTC wasn't the one sending out SMS messages it was a third party.
I demanded details of this "third party" and the lady said it was "Aywa Gulf".
I never heard of an Aywa Gulf, so I asked for a contact name or number. The lady could provide neither and she suggested that I call Batelco's 181. And so I did.
The Batelco operator (when they finally did pick up) said there is no such thing as Aywa Gulf. In all possible spellings. This does not seem right.
I immediately headed to my good friend "Google", the searches "Aywah Gulf" and "Aywa Gulf" gave me nothing. but when I switched into Arabic and searched "أيوا جلف" I found this.

Aywa Gulf is a Kuwaiti Company. Owned by Business man Faisal Alisa and partially by Aldiera Telecommunications (Kuwait). Alisa owns a telecommunications company based in Kuwait. He owns the "Alafasy" famous Islamic satellite channel (Which MTC sponsors and Aywa Gulf offers joint promotions for the MTC customers) in addition to several others.
In 2006, Faisal Alisa was rewarded by MTC as one of the most important customers and joint campaign providers.
Isn't that interesting. From all of this I know the following:
  • MTC is not sending the 77013 SMS, so either MTC sold a third party my number for advertising purposes without my consent or a third party stole that number from somewhere.
  • The company that is behind the SMS messages is Kuwaiti, not Bahraini, greatly increasing the possibility that MTC betrayed my trust and sold my number especially that:
  • MTC and Aywa Gulf partnered in several campaigns and MTC awarded them for collaboration.
I do not appreciate my privacy being violated, nor do I appreciate my time being wasted. I filed a formal complaint with MTC's helpdesk and its number is 965004. I will also speak to Ms. Linda Aljamea (Manager Customer Services) and Mr. Mohammed Haji (PR Officer) first thing tomorrow morning to get an official response.

I love MTC. I am extremely disappointed in their unethical conduct. Anyway, I will post any updates to the matter here.


Ammar456 said...

spam SMS does get pretty annoying, but its just part of the business I guess. However, there should be some way to block it, and if MTC don't offer that, well, that just a bit screwed. I'm sick of recieving spam from Bahrain Specialist Medical center. I dont care if Mr. IdunnoWhat specialist doctor is in from germany

Capt. Arab said...

you win some and loose some my friend. You can fight this one till you are blue in the face, and probably manage to stop it, until... Some other company starts again..

Manaf Almuhandis said...

Well, I tried calling the MTC contacts a couple of times but I wasn't able to reach them. Then I got busy with work deadlines to be frank and did not attempt to call in the past two days.
MTC, however, tried to respond to my complaint case as the CS guys called me twice on my mobile. Unfortunately I was in meeting at both of these events so they just texted me saying it was solved.
I am glad they did solve it for me, I just now need to identify how this thing happened.
I'll keep you posted.