The Gist


This is a story of one unhappy customer, two internet providers trying to win her over, and an army of upset and seemingly neglected clients.

/ 11 September 2020

On September 8, a harmless tweet from one of the Philippines’ most popular actresses, Liza Soberano, stirred the Filipino online community with uproar towards two of the country’s biggest internet providers: Converge and PLDT.

Soberano first shared her frustration about Converge’s poor connection, and even worse customer service based on her personal experience. The telecom company was quick to reply to her concerns, but even quicker was its competitor, PLDT, which immediately sent out a team to provide the actress with 300 MBPS for fast speed internet. What was supposed to be a simple story of competition and getting good PR from quick engagements blew up into a massive outpouring of impassioned criticisms towards the two providers as they seemed to neglect their existing customers while fighting over the approval of one.

In the first few hours after Soberano’s initial tweet about Converge, many existing customers also voiced out their general disapproval of the brand’s service agents, with most of them sharing their difficulty in contacting the support team for their concerns. For a few hours, Converge was the main target of the local Twitter community’s rage as the issue became a trending topic.

However, this was quickly buried as PLDT’s initiative to go out of their way and win over Soberano backfired with the fury of its existing customers who seem to have had enough of their long-lasting ticket concerns with the company that seemingly go unnoticed. This got even worse when fellow actresses, Bela Padilla and Julia Barretto, also called PLDT out for their internet issues and was immediately catered to.


Of course, the issue is not a criticism on these actresses using their platforms to bring attention to a problem that most, if not all, of us experience with our own providers. The big picture is the reality that millions of Filipinos are struggling with internet lags, disconnections, and general bad network services at a time when the whole country relies on their stability in the midst of the quarantine; only to be blatantly ignored. To rub salt into the wound, they now see that major internet providers such as Converge and PLDT are actually perfectly capable of responding to a customer’s concerns—but seems like only if a person has thousands of followers and can be unofficial ambassadors to the brand.

In the eyes of its unsatisfied customers, PLDT’s extra effort to cater to a potential client while ignoring the complaints from all of their existing ones is a classic example of brands going the extra mile to obtain sales and market their product, only to abandon them after the purchase has been made. Since the issue became a trending topic, PLDT’s Twitter account has been mass-replying to most of the complaints thrown at them and accusing them of giving celebrities special treatment. Every minute, it seems as if the account is sending out a new tweet reaching out to its customers in an attempt to salvage these relationships.

On that note, this situation, perhaps, is a gentle reminder for all brands that no amount of flashy promotions and sensationalized engagements can improve their reputation when faced with massive negative word of mouth. This is especially true in the era of social media when platforms are most accessible to everyone making it easy to share their sentiments online and bring to light some of their concerns. In this case, if the pile of unhappy customers is majority of a whole nation, it might call for a lay low attention to avoid unprecedented backlash or loud criticisms.

This was also brought to light by Soberano’s latest tweet about the issue where she called on the whole telecommunication industry to do better in servicing their clients, especially at this crucial time. The thread wrapped up the current issue, and ultimately opened up the conversation on the responsibility of internet providers to live up to their proclaimed mission of offering fast, reliable, and accessible network services throughout the Philippines—with fairness and sincerity.