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Dialog: What I Like, Dislike and Hate

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I began using Dialog Products for the first time in 2012 when I subscribed to a Dialog TV Pearl Plan. I subscribed to two additional plans later that year. In a short time, I switched from Mobitel to Dialog for voice and data as well. Altogether at the time of this writing, I have three DTV connections, two voice and mobile data plans, and two 4G home broadband connections. [Photo by Mayur Roshen from SR Photography]

Note: This post is not an endorsement of Dialog Axiata or its products. It’s not a scientifically researched review either. I am merely sharing my personal experience.

What do I like about Dialog?

Let’s explore the four compelling reasons why I have a favorable opinion of Dialog Axiata and the services they provide.

Unlimited Power Plan

Unlimited Power Plan lets you choose from five different packages. I use the plan advertised as 1200 (which used to be known as ‘Master Blaster’). I get a credit limit of 2,500/-, outgoing 100% free within the network (calls & text), and 12GB anytime data, among other features. You can visit this page on the official Dialog Axiata website for further details. Since all of my essential contacts are using Dialog, the 1200 Package 1,200/- per month fits my monthly budget perfectly.

Impressive Data Plans

I get 5GB of data free of charge per month to stream Netflix on my smartphone. This quota is in addition to another 12GB data pack granted to me every month for free and the default 12GB quota which is part of the 1200 package. With the bonus data, I am entitled to approximately 24GB of data on my mobile every month without any additional cost. I can even use my data at any time. Whether it’s day or night, there’s no difference. Then there are two unique data plans for Netflix users. I find them very useful as I get unlimited data to watch my favorite shows on Netflix for a flat monthly rate of 1,200/- More details about these packages are available here.

Customer Support

The Live Chat Support available through the Dialog Axiata website and the Selfcare App is very useful if you don’t want to wait on a phone line for operator assistance or are unable to call from a number within the Dialog network. In addition to Live Chat Support, you can contact the help desk through WhatsApp and a dedicated customer care hotline. There are a few other support channels available through the Selfcare app, which I haven’t tried. Their technical teams usually resolve the issues within 2-3 days max if not hours. Overall, I am satisfied with the efficiency of their customer support service.

Billing & Payments

Since I live in a leased annex, I don’t have a permanent address. Therefore, I use e-billing as far as possible. You can use the Dialog Self Care App to switch from printed invoices to electronically generated invoices delivered to you via e-mail with the click of a button. It partly helps ensure my privacy because, unlike the hard copies that might be handed over to a third party in my absence only, I can receive the electronic version of an invoice.

As for payments, you can settle your bills online via the Commercial Bank e-banking facility or the Dialog Selfcare App. In addition to these, I can save my credit card details in the Dialog Self Care App eliminating the need for typing the credit card details into a mobile browser which makes settling bills from the smartphone app much more convenient. On the other hand, I prefer not to use my credit card on websites like Netflix which are very likely to be targets of cybercriminals. Since I can add my Netflix bill to my Dialog Mobile invoice, I don’t have to register my credit card on the Netflix website for payments. That gives me some peace of mind.

What I don’t like about Dialog

While there are several commendable aspects of Dialog Axiata, it’s essential to acknowledge that perfection is elusive. Here’s what I find less appealing about their services.

Not 100% Weather Proof

Dialog TV is a very convenient and cost-effective method to watch offshore Television programmes from your living room’s comfort because the whole system is powered by satellite technology. Unlike PEO TV by Sri Lanka Telecom, you don’t have to rely on fixed lines and other cables. The installation is effortless. However, poor weather conditions can temporarily disrupt the communication between the satellite above and the dish on the ground causing the decoder to fail. Unfortunately, this is a problem common to every satellite TV provider, not just Dialog. It is annoying, but there’s nothing Dialog can do about it.

Local TV Commercials

Once Dialog TV started gaining more subscribers Dialog began replacing foreign TV commercials in the channels with local TV commercials. In the early days, most of these commercials bled into the programme meaning the programme had already started when the commercial ended. It seems the Dialog has fixed the problem now. However, it’s still not fair to the consumers. According to Wikipedia, Dialog TV has grown up to one million users, meaning their ad revenue must be very high. Still, the Dialog TV Gold package costs 2,099/- + tax per month. Either they should reduce the monthly rent or add more channels to the cheaper packages.

What do I hate about Dialog?

Now that I’ve covered the positives I appreciate and the negatives I dislike about Dialog Axiata, let’s delve into what I strongly hate about their services.

ZLT P25 4G Router

In terms of size, I feel the ZLT P25 4G Router Dialog issues to home broadband customers is a much better device than the Huawei B310s they used to issue. It takes up less space on my desk and in the backpack. However, I prefer custom DNS (Google Public DNS, OpenDNS, etc.) over ISP-provided DNS and unfortunately, I cannot find the option for setting up custom DNS in the ZLT P25. Either the manufacturer doesn’t allow the functionality or Dialog has altered the firmware eliminating the ability to set up custom DNS.

Update (20.09.2023): It turns out that I was both right and wrong at the same time. I recently discovered that in the “4G CPE ZLT P25,” you are allowed to set one custom DNS server, while in the “4G CAT4 CPE ZLT S10,” you can define two custom DNS servers. In both routers, you need to follow these steps: Go to Device Settings > Advance Settings and enter your custom DNS server in the input box next to the “DHCP DNS” option. To add a second DNS server, you should select the “DHCP DNS2” option and set it to “Enabled,” then define the second DNS server. I initially missed this because I was searching for an option called “Custom DNS” or something similar.

Unsolicited SMS/Calls

Dialog is known for the nasty habit of sending unsolicited voice broadcasts. This means your device alerts you to an incoming call and upon answering you realize it’s just a pre-recorded message from Dialog regarding a product they offer. Although the calls stopped after making a polite complaint to the Dialog Customer Care hotline, this shouldn’t have happened in the first place because I never opted in for such updates.

Text messages are another royal annoyance. Most of the text messages I receive are regarding a new film being aired through the 7th Circuit Channel which is of no interest to me. Except for a few classics such as “Sagara Jalaya Madi Handuwa Oba Handa” by Sumitra Peries, “Siri Medura” by Parakrama Niriella, “Pura Handa Kaluwara” (Death on a Full Moon Day), and “Ira Madiyama” by Prasanna Vithanage and some other works by Dr. Lester James Peiris I have seldom enjoyed a film by a Sri Lankan Director. “According to Matthew” by Chandran Rutnam was an utter disappointment due primarily to Fr. Matthew Peiris’ poor portrayal by Alston Koch. Hence, Dialogue’s text messages regarding the Sinhala movie premiers on the 7th Circuit Channel are of absolutely no use to me.

According to Dialogue, you can opt out of the promotional SMS by typing PROMO OFF and sending it to 678. However, the messages continue even after opting out.

Nagging Payment Reminders

Unless there is a particular reason for making payments early, I settle my bills only 24 hours before the due date through a standing order. The problem with Dialog is they nag me via text message reminders up to the day I make the payment. Imagine how annoying it can be to receive text message reminders for five different services several times a week, even when I am not behind the due date.

Dishonest Employees

In 2016 I purchased a new Dialog TV connection from their outlet in Nuwara Eliya as a gift for my newly wedded brother. When the representative asked which package I wanted to buy, I said I would like to purchase the Pearl package (71 Channels, 749/- monthly rental + tax). He said Dialog had discontinued the Pearl package, and the new package known as “Thee” (63 Channels, 799/- monthly rental + tax) is the next available option. Hence, I placed an order for the latter.

A few days later, however, I got suspicious and called Dialog’s Customer Care help desk to see whether the “Pearl” package had been removed. The Help Desk representative said the “Pearl” package is still available, and Dialog is not planning to retire it anytime soon. The local outlet representative had lied to me because he wanted to sell me a “Thee” package. Fortunately, my brother was able to convert the package to Pearl later.

Wrap Up

I have been using Dialog Axiata services mentioned above for nine years now. I must tell you I never regretted switching from Mobitel and SLT, my former broadband services, and the Cable TV Provider. Of course, there were times of frustration but not enough to convince me to go back.

If you found this content helpful, I kindly ask you to leave your feedback in the comments section below. Sharing it on social media would also be greatly appreciated. In order to promote meaningful and respectful dialogue, I request that you use your full name when commenting. Please note that any comments containing profanity, name-calling, or a disrespectful tone will be deleted. Thank you for your understanding and participation.

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