Today, phone and internet are just as important, as any other part of your body. I don’t say this, because I’ve been working in telecoms for 20 years. I simply can’t (just like you) imagine a life without these means for study, work, news and fun.
Or, I couldn’t imagine, until the telecom operator Telefonica “helped” me, by leaving us without phone and internet for an extended period of time.
Yes, friends did warn us: Be careful with telecom operators in Spain. It’s easy to get stuck in a complicated situation; especially if you’re dealing directly with Telefonica (which operates under the brand name Movistar). It should be said that most of the alternative providers have to rent the access line from the same Telefonica, but then, at least, you won’t be fighting with them directly yourself. The other provisders aren’t much sweeter, but that’s another story.
This summer we felt that it was time to change to another operator. With the old operator, our first year, with preferential rates had ended since long, and the only way to get reasonable prices was to swap to another operator. I checked around what the operators had to offer and finally settled for Telefonica (despite advice from friends). The reason was that Telefonica is the only operator, which offers a high-speed connection via optical cable all the way to your home.
A few months later, our long search for another apartment finally succeeded. We found a good flat a couple of blocks away. First of all, we checked that the new house was equipped with fibreoptic lines from Telefonica. The caretaker even demonstrated the Telefonica box, where a thick optocable entered from below, and one small optocable exited right, and went further to one of the flats, a couple of floors up. And on October 19th, immediately after signing for the new flat, we went to order the reconnection of our line to the new address. We left the shop with a written confirmation and a promise that the move should occur within three weeks, whenever convenient for Telefonica.
Two weeks later, as we were moving the last boxes, we visited the Telefonica shop again, to double-check when Telefonica would move the line. It then turned out, that no request for line transfer was to be found in the system, despite our written confirmation from October 19th. Someone must have deleted the order, or forgotten to move the request into the right system. They made a new request, and again promised to execute the transfer within three weeks, whenever convenient for Telefonica.
The girl in the shop promised to check what could be done to speed up the process. The next day, she informed us that she had managed to scrap our minimum contract term for our current optical line, so that we without early termination fees could cancel the current contract and order a new line instead. A new line is promised within 10 days, but usually they try to do it within a week. So we did. Our telephone number would change, but it was far more important to get back online as quickly as possible.
One week later, a technician visited us. As soon as he realized that it wasn’t totally easy to pull a thin optical cable from the basement to our flat, 5 floors up, he made a call somewhere and convinced Telefonica to cancel our order. Instead, later a salesman called us and bluntly lied to us that there was no optical lines in our house, and probably wouldn’t be for a long while. (Despite we had actually seen that box!)
We were offered a standard telephone line with ADSL, while waiting for the optical connection. Later on, we learned that there was a trap in there. Had we agreed, we’d be bound to keep ADSL for at least six months! Our strong rejection of this offer isn’t suitable for print. It was as expressive, clear and indignant as our knowledge of Spanish allows. Nevertheless, the same evening Telefonica called again “So, do we have a deal? We put ADSL?”
To summarize. Today we’ve got:
- The number on the old address was disconnected in just 10 days. Our friends don’t believe their ears, that it happened so quickly! There are cases, where a number continues working for months, and Telefonica bills you for the new tenants’ calls.
- Another technician visited us and explained that our building wasn’t yet fully internally wired for the connection of our flat. He promised to prepare a report to Telefonica about this, so that they could install cabling to the different floors, whenever convenient for them.
- The girl in the Telefonica dealership managed to wave the minimal term for an ADSL line, and a few days later we got it installed. While waiting for the optically connected heaven, now we’ve got at least some connection with the world, after three weeks with only expensive and unstable mobile connection.
- Our number has changed. We’ve got a few misplaced calls. A quick search on google showed that the number previously belonged to a model agency. We strongly hope that the model agency wasn’t one of those in quotation marks.
- Evelyn, the girl in the dealership, has helped (and continues to) a lot. I hereby solemnly promise to bring her a box of good chocolate, once we get back to the full quality of connection again.
PS! About four times a year, the planet Mercury seems to move backwards. It is said that during these periods, there may be problems with communication, computers, mutual understanding and transport. Dear Telefonica, Mercury is now moving forward again, so now you can’t blame it anymore!
This article was initially published on my tri-lingual site tobi3.se in English, Russian and Swedish. Follow-ups will be published in English only.
In addition, a slightly shorter version of the Russian text was published on oshev.com