My only interaction with this is when I report spam texts. And I do not need to receive calls regarding that!
Confirmed by PayTM:
@Sushubh Yeah, Airtel is not providing Full talktime on third party website now.
— Paytm (@Paytm) July 6, 2013
Airtel offers full talk time on 500 rupee recharge on their prepaid mobile connections. However, there is an issue here.
Right now, it only works if you recharge through Airtel.in or retail stores. It does not work if you use a third party service like PayTM or Freecharge.
I am not the only one who noticed this. And I got a confirmation from Airtel customer care people that third party retailers would not offer full talk time on such recharges.
Democracy is the government of the people, by the people, for the people.
This is a famous quote from Abraham Lincoln. But our ‘democratic’ government does not really follow this definition.
I am going to talk about a specific example here. 3G mobile roaming controversy. There might be some technical inaccuracies here but I think the point would be clear.
When the government auctioned 3G spectrum in India, none of the mobile operator was able to buy a pan-India license. The price was astonishingly high and only limited spectrum was available. This means that bigger players in the market like Airtel, Vodafone and Idea were not able to secure rights for all the major markets.
So what they did to cater to their customers? They formed pacts with each other to let 3G work on roaming. Airtel, Idea and Vodafone were able to offer 3G services in circles outside their own through these agreements.
Now, this pissed the government. They claimed that these pacts were illegal. They said that the original agreement did not allow for such pacts.
DoT made an interesting statement this week. They said that 3G pacts undermined the objectives of the 3G auction.
Now here is the problem. A democratic government (or any sane government) should take steps that makes the lives of their people easy. 3G pacts did exactly that. It enabled operators to recover the money spent on buying the rights to the spectrum by renting it out to a competitor. It gave more options to the consumer as they were able to use 3G from their choice of operator in any circle.
I guess the department of telecom is scared that such pacts might result to cartelization in future auctions. These companies could collaborate and decide on the circles they would bid on. The competition would be less and the government would not be able to generate as much money as they did during 3G spectrum auctions.
They might claim that this hurt the common man because government gets lesser revenues. But the point remains, does it really? It’s not like this government is running short of ways to make money. It’s not like they are actually spending money transparently for the betterment of the people in India.
I mean no matter how much money this government makes, I still pay toll taxes for traveling on roads, I still pay for battery backup solutions because the power supply is erratic. I still pay for water purification solutions because the water supply is not exactly giving me drinkable water. The list is endless.
I am not a fan of mobile operators. Their policies are horrible. They scam their customers on a daily basis. But instead of fixing the problems, the government just is giving them more reasons to dupe customers. Things are pretty messed up to be frank.
I have been using 3G on my Airtel prepaid connection for a couple of months now. Here is what it has been like for me.
The service itself is quite decent. I do not check my speeds as it works well for checking mail, tweeting, photo sharing on Google+ and even managing broadbandforum.in from the phone.
The most complicated problem is how Airtel handle recharge.
Unlike the 98 rupee Edge plan, Airtel does not seem to offer any automatic renewal service on the 3G plans.
And they also do not bother to send alerts about the upcoming expiry of my 3G plan.
So, every month I end up consuming a couple of megabytes of data which costs me quite a lot based on their paisa per kilobyte rates.
If this is not bad enough. The company makes it annoyingly complicated to renew the plan.
If I send a renew command through SMS, the company tells me that I cannot renew my plan as I still have more than 50MB left in my account. This is inaccurate because the plan I had has of course already expired.
So, what I have to do is to deactivate 3G completely on my connection. Then reactivate it. Then wait for a couple of hours and then subscribe to the plan I like. This usually works.
But it did not work for me today. Hence forcing me to write this rare blog post. I have added some screenshots to this post showcasing the messages proving the points I am highlighting here.
If any reader of this blog post has any idea about what I might be doing wrong… please feel free to comment below. I really need to fix this monthly problem as I simply cannot switch back to Edge which is horrendously slow in comparison to decentish 3G from Airtel.
Reliance now has FUP free unlimited 1/2/4mbps plans throughout India. They arrived with little fanfare but could define the wired broadband market in the coming months.
As of now, no national internet service provider has plans that can match these. Almost all the broadband plans available to consumers in the market are linked with in most cases laughable data transfer limits.
Airtel broadband is of course has some of the worst plans in the market today. They are also one of the largest private ISP operating in the country and hence are likely to be affected the most.
Let’s compare the offerings from the two company:
Reliance Broadband 4mbps unlimited data transfer for Rs. 1099 plus taxes per month
Airtel Broadband 15GB at 2mbps 256kbps after 15GB for Rs. 1099 plus taxes per month
Would airtel respond to these plans by launching comparable plans? Seems unlikely. But they would be forced to if a sizable number of consumers apply for a disconnection pointing on Reliance as their reason for the same.
Got myself a BSNL Broadband connection. I researched enough and it does look like a reasonable alternative.
There are issues of course. It took them 15 days to get me connected. Actually they took 14 days to collect the documents and initial payment. Connection was delivered and enabled in just one day!
Problems right now? Speeds are not good. I plan to enquire about the slow speed problem tomorrow. Hopefully they would at least deliver 80% of the advertised speeds.
BSNL does look like a good alternative to me right now. I got a direct number to their broadband guy who handles the things in the backend. Wiring quality seems to be pretty good based on the values shown in modem backend.
Now, the big question is… When to apply for disconnection of my airtel broadband connection!
This post is largely based on Airtel Broadband plans for Delhi NCR region. They have different plans in different parts of the country. They tend to offer better plans where competition is strong. Like in Hyderabad where Beam is doing an excellent job of killing their market share.
I have been running an online protest asking airtel to launch plans with more bandwidth. Until few days ago, they had some plans offering 150GB data transfer at speeds of 2mbps and 4mbps.
Airtel sort of responded with some new plans. They now have plans with 175GB data transfer limit.
This might look like a minor victory but turns out it is not.
175GB is available only on 8mbps and 16mbps plans. These plans are of course expensive (Rs. 2599 plus taxes for 8mbps 175GB). There is no option to get a 175GB plan with 2mbps or 4mbps speeds.
Here lies the bigger problem…
Airtel also went on to showcase their evilness as they removed the older 150GB plans. In fact, the best available plan at 2mbps and 4mbps available today offer a data transfer limit of 80GB. Almost half of what they had before. You simply cannot get a plan with more than 80GB data transfer for less than Rs. 2500!
There is more bad news…
Airtel simply does not have the network quality to offer 8mbps/16mbps in all areas they are currently serving. Their wiring in my area for example does not support these speeds so I am unable to upgrade to their 175GB 8mbps plan!
Thankfully, they are allowing me to continue with my old plan (150GB 4mbps) for the time being. But if I am to apply for a new Airtel Broadband connection today, the best they have on offer to me is an 80GB plan at 4mbps. This probably applies to most regions where they offer their services in the country today.
Of course, on all these plans, the problem with random SmartBytes problem is a pre-existing condition.