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Wireless Utopia

The journey towards a free wireless world.

Crappy Airtel

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Yesterday I realised that why Telecom Services need so much regulations and how the Telcos. can use simply take thier users for granted. They have an immense power with them; the number of the user. In India it is not possible yet to preserve the IMSI across different service providers. And this is used by the service providers to blackmail thier customers. This is what happened with me.

Around three months ago they provided a GPRS Service branded as "Airtel Online" to prepaid customers free of charge to whoever signed up. But on 2nd of April they withdrew the service without any prior notification to the users. On enquiry it was found that the service was available only for three months. But now it has been completely withdrawn and will no longer be provided at all to the prepaid customers.

The GPRS service it seems is available only to the postpaid customers. Even if the prepaid customers are ready to pay for the service, they cannot since Airtel policy does not allow it. This is a highly discriminatory policy. I question the policy on the simple basis that any customer should be allowed to access a service if he or she can be charged for it. Airtel it seems does not believe in that.

Even if the customer is ready migrate to postpaid, it will take a minimum of two to a maximum of four working days. In that period of time number will not be accessible! I dont believe that this is a neccesity. This only amounts to harassment of prepaid customers. The amazing part is that prepaid customers constitue the largest and the most popular segment of Airtel. And instead of wooing them and increasing thier base they are bent on driving them away. At least I can switch to Hutch and use GPRS on my prepaid.

I am not an expert on telecom policy but I have been in this industry for too long to know about the technology. They can easily provide the GPRS service to the prepaid customers and charge them. Even migrating a number from prepaid to postpaid is not rocket science that it would need four days. But then I am just single low ARPU customer who wants to remain prepaid because of the freedom provided by it. Airtel is too big and rich to care for me. I have sent a mail to TRAI to register my protest. And maybe I'll approach the consumer fourm as well.

For the time being but, I am one angry dissatisfied consumer.

Tags: Airtel GPRS TRAI India Mobile Operator Telecom
posted by Rajiv, 2:03 AM


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