Friday, August 26, 2011

Why I ditched Airtel (mobile)

1. "Unbilled amount" misused too much for GPRS; i.e. if you were to comsume all the allotted quota of 2GB, they would show Rs. 30000 as unbilled amount. Not to say that your credit limit is damned. This would also cause problems while porting out, converting from postpaid to prepaid, and closure of account.
2. Buggy MCA (Missed Call Alert): Try calling your own airtel number and you'll know what i'm saying.
3. Very expensive 3G plans; so again there is scope for exploiting the customers under the name of unbilled amount. Recently they reduced post-quota usage charges for postpaid to 3p/10kB but it's still costly i.e. Rs. 3/MB
4. No visibility on 3G data packs: There is no way we could know the remaining data balance either for GPRS or 3G.
5. Incompetent CSAs (Customer Service Agents): One such CSA told me that Missed Call Alerts have nothing to do with Call Divert functionality. I asked her several times to give it in writing but she didn't. Funny.
Most of the times the CSAs try as much as possible to avoid providing a complaint number; it's not professional.
6. Website: Not able to activate/deactivate services online.
7. Airtel Live fraud: Yes it's a fraud. By default, it's not mobile office, but airtel live which is active as an access point on your sim. You have to explicitly change the access point to in order to get the benefit of Rs. 98/2GB pack. If you don't do it, you are pissed. Moreover, you will get to know this ONLY after the bill is generated as the unbilled amount will grow insanely both for airtel live as well as
8. Sim services: Sim services like all the services under Airtel Live are like landmines. Click this and lose Rs. 50; click that and you lose Rs. 99. My mother-in-law got a bill in excess of Rs. 2000 (as against her average bill of 300-400) just because of these "landmines". When i checked the itemized bill i saw numerous game downloads. Airtel refused to refund. 
9. I had bought an additionl (prepaid) sim just to try their 3G services. It took 10 long days and numerous calls to activate simple GPRS. (Actually GPRS is always active by default on all numbers but in this case they had some problem in their backend. ). I also faced several balance deductions for no reason. This added to the woes.

I also know that all these things are done by almost all the operators all the time. This was just an attempt to highlight my concerns that might benefit others.

But there is a good thing about airtel too:
While going through different forums and complaint websites, i came to know that the rejection ratio for MNP requests is very high. Especially i had read about airtel rejecting the requests on any reason they liked or for no reason at all. Some reasons: Legal issue, Contractual obligation (i.e CUG (i don't understand where is the contract), Bundled offer etc), non-payment of unbilled amount (WTF), wrong UPC code etc.
Aware of all these tricks, i directly called airtel's apellate desk and asked them from refraining from rejecting my request on any stupid reason and warned them that i'd to much bad publicity to them if they dare do it. The lady on phone told me that she'd make special note against my number and there would be no problem while porting out.
I am still not sure whether the same trick worked, but my port out request was cleared by Airtel within less than 4 days. Thanks Airtel!

For those who want to shift their postpaid connections:
1. It doesn't matter whether you are in a CUG or corporate plan. If the number is in your name then you can always port out no matter what.
2. It doesn't matter if you have unbilled amount. You are eligible for porting out as long as you have cleared all previous dues. But make sure that you pay the next bill which is usually generated AFTER you port out.
3. Except handset bundled offer, there is no contractual obligation if the number is in your name and not in the company's name.
4. Request for the UPC code ONLY while filling up the MNP form with the receiver operator, so that you still have 15 days to go before your UPC code expires.
5. IMP: If your operator clears your request before the expiry date of UPC code, then it is OK even if the actual activation from new operator goes beyond the UPC expiry date. (Not understood? Read again. )

P.S. I have moved to tata docomo. The bible (not in religious terms) of Tata Docomo seems to be very good, but the interpretation is lack of faith. (;-O)

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