Universal service for disabled people - UKE

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Universal service for disabled people

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2007-09-14

Report on the provision of universal service to disabled people by Telekomunikacja Polska S.A. The protection of disabled people currently covers only voice services and is implemented within the framework of universal service through the availability of facilities for disabled people.

 

Telekomunikacja Polska S.A. as an undertaking designated to provide universal service is obliged to provide such facilities. They include, among others, availability of special telephones, phone boxes and facilitated access to infrastructure. In addition to special tariff options there is no obligation to offer financial measures to the disabled as part of universal service regime. However, the company offers discounts or reductions on a voluntary basis.

In order to analyse telecommunications services and facilities, in particular universal services, used by disabled people and their needs in that respect, the President of UKE commissioned Centrum Badań Marketingowych INDICATOR Sp. z o.o. (Centre for Marketing Studies) to conduct a relevant survey. The survey covered 1,507 households with at least one disabled person. Its results are similar to the results of an annual consumer survey.

  

The above mentioned survey allows two essential conclusions, i.e.:

  • disabled people would expect lower prices for telecommunications services;
  • disabled people are not sufficiently informed on the discounts and facilities offered by telecommunications undertakings, in particular by Telekomunikacja Polska S.A. (they are not aware of what they may request from a given undertaking).

  

The remaining conclusions from this survey are as follows:

  

1) with respect to facilities for disabled people offered as part of universal service

One third of the households with disabled people surveyed were not satisfied with the discounts offered to the disabled.

The most wanted facility for the disabled is preferential price for line rental and calls offered by fixed operators.

Disabled people in the households surveyed tend to use special TP S.A. phone adapted to their needs rather occasionally. The use of such phones is declared by one ninth of the households surveyed.

More than two fifths of all respondents have visited TP S.A. customer outlet. Most outlets visited by the respondents can be accessed by people in wheelchairs. One third of those who have visited an outlet noticed a separate counter for disabled customers. However, not all counters were equipped with a computer that enables to communicate with a speech or hearing impaired person.

The households surveyed with a fixed-line phone from TP S.A. do not use invoices in Braille or in large fonts or sent by e-mail in text format.

One sixteenth of the disabled people surveyed declared that they had used a TP S.A. public pay phones during the last year.

TP S.A. public phone boxes, in the opinion of their users, are not adapted to the needs of disabled people. This concerns people in wheelchairs, and in particular partially sighted or hearing impaired people.

The marking on TP phone boxes and phones is evaluated as average. More than one fifth of the respondents think that the marking is poor in terms of graphic signs, their placement, colour and ease of identification.

The knowledge of marking on TP S.A. phone cards that allow independent use by blind or partially sighted people is not sufficient.

 

2) with respect to the provision of telecommunications services

A fixed-line phone from TP S.A. is registered for a disabled person in one third of households with disabled people.

The most frequently used TP S.A. tariff schemes in the households surveyed include: 60 minutes for free (60 minut za darmo), standard (standardowy) and social (socjalny).

A fixed-line phone is used primarily for private purposes, every tenth household surveyed uses it both for private and professional purposes.

Most respondents are satisfied with customer care in TP S.A. Half of the respondents are also satisfied with the availability of information on new products, discounts and promotions.

Possible decisions about switching to another fixed operator could be made on the basis of pricing criteria such as attractive prices, promotions and discounts.

A facility consisting in a flat monthly charge for fixed-line services with an option to define its level on an annual basis depending on actual usage could influence a decision to install a fixed-line phone in the case of almost half of the respondents.

Almost one fifth of the subscribers have filed a complaint to TP S.A. The most frequent reason for doing so was an incorrect invoice sent by the operator or delays in removing failures as well as other delays on the part of the operator. One fifth of the respondents gave an unfavourable assessment of the complaint handling procedure identifying long time for solving the problem by the operator as the major drawback.

The average amount of telephone bills (for the last 3 months) for TP S.A. in families with a disable person was equal to PLN 91. The monthly rental in these families was PLN 48 on average.

Almost two thirds of the respondents who had TP S.A. fixed-line phone at home were likely to recommend their operator to others.

The most frequent reasons for not having a fixed-line phone in TP S.A. were high usage fees and no need to have a fixed-line phone.

Lower costs of monthly rental and calls are the most important factors that could encourage respondents without TP S.A. fixed-line phone at home to install a line provided by this operator.

The users of TP S.A. phone boxes tend to buy phone cards with low values such as PLN 9 and PLN 15. Very few people are familiar with promotions of TP S.A. phone cards.

One eighth of the respondents declare to have used TP S.A. phone boxes during the last year, while the rate is half of that for disabled users. Most users of TP S.A. phone boxes use them only occasionally.

One third of the respondents who use TP S.A. phone boxes have heard of the validity period for TP S.A. phone cards which is 2 years.

More than half of the respondents need between 6 to 20 minutes to reach the nearest TP S.A. phone box in working order not using a car or public transportation.

One third of the respondents would use TP S.A. phone boxes more often, if this was cheaper. One fourth of the respondents were interested in using the boxes, if they were better adapted to the needs of the disabled people, functioned better, were located closer to their homes or if the number of phone boxes in a particular town increased.

As regards disabled users of a mobile phone, the majority of them own one handset and are subscribers of Orange (Idea) most frequently. Almost one third of the respondents do not use mobile telephony at all, predominantly due to the fact that their usage is insignificant or they consider a fixed-line phone a sufficient means of communications.

Preferential subscription price is indicated as the prevailing expectation towards operators from households with at least one disabled person. This facility is expected by the largest number of respondents, both in the context of Internet access and mobile services. The next important facilities included special phones or software facilitating the use by disabled people, special channels for communicating with customer care centres or customer care visits to the disabled person’s place in order to complete all formalities.

More than half of the disabled people use Internet on a daily basis and almost one fourth do so 3-5 times a week. Home is the main and dominant place where Internet is used. Only insignificant fraction of Internet users access the web at work, at their acquaintances’ place or at school.

The results of the survey point to TP S.A. clear dominance in the Internet providers market. Spontaneous awareness of this operator was three times greater than that of Tele2 which ranked second, and by far superseded the remaining Internet providers. The survey on the level of familiarity with the offers of particular operators confirms this tendency.

The analysis of results indicates that users are generally satisfied with the services provided by Internet operators. The highest level of satisfaction is declared as regards customer service in general. Most respondents do not see any major difficulties with switching to another provider, and more than half do not plan to resign from the services provided by their current operator.

  

Full text of the survey report (in Polish).

  

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    INTRODUCTION
    The President of the Office of Electronic Communications (President of UKE) is the national regulatory authority for the market of telecommunications and postal services. The President of UKE is also the specialised authority in the area of equipment conformity assessment, including telecommunications terminal equipment and radio equipment.

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