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Don't rely on Reliance


Welcome to the telecom revolution in India. Here, mobile subscribers have the best of services at their fingertips - from shopping to banking to railway ticket booking. For God's sake, people can even SMS their prayers to the temple's short code.

Telecom service providers are so upbeat about the revolution that they are giving their subscribers every feature they can think of - even if they don't want it - and also making them pay for it. Reliance Communications (the telecom arm of Reliance ADAG) has never been a devotee of Gandhi's "Consumer is the king" principle. Sometimes it looks like if they could chuck the customer altogether, they would gladly do it. And this is not hearsay, it's personal experience.

True, Reliance offers the best call rates among all operators, but maybe that's why they don't give a damn about customer care. If you have a problem, the last thing you want to do is dial customer care. It was the billing hassles that made me shift to prepaid. Then I suffered with a faulty handset for almost a year, which was never exchanged despite everyone having a problem with it (and it's still in the market - Nokia 2255, if you need to know). I finally bought a new handset at my own expense.

Now, Reliance has tried to pull a fast one on its unsuspecting subscribers. I realised recently that my Call Waiting had been deactivated. Called them up to re-activate it but was told that "Call waiting, call hold and conference facilities have been withdrawn for prepaid subscribers." This struck me as really strange. Firstly, because I was not informed of this. Secondly, I would consider something as basic as call waiting as my fundamental right by using a mobile service.

Then I figured out why they are doing this...they are trying to push their Missed Calls SMS service. Because, for the past few days I have been receiving unsolicited SMSs saying that I have a missed call - presumably when my phone is busy. And I have to pay them to retreive those numbers. Wow, great way to save on advertising costs to promote the service.

Plus, if I was desperate to find out what calls I was missing, I would end up paying them. Now, that they have taken away my call waiting service, they are practically blackmailing me into using it. And I am certainly not going to be blackmailed by my service provider just because it has the cheapest rates and because I have bought an expensive new CDMA handset which is only compatible with Reliance. No way!

Since I am just one of the millions of mobile subscribers in the country, I can only tell my story. Ask others and they will tell you about wrong billing, unsolicited calls, unwanted 'value-added-services', dropped calls and hefty roaming and ringtone download charges.

This is real working of India's telecom machinery. Wonder why no one bothers tightening the bolts.
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3 comments

Pheonixbun said...

The situation of Mobile servicer in China is rather bad.the fee of making calls is high and we can not get a exact bill per month. What a shame!

Anonymous said...

I used to hate Hutch before I read this. But at least they don't charge for the missed call sms. The automated advertising calls are a pain in the ass though. The signal quality is also inconsistent. Abrupt disconnections are getting increasingly common. There is so much money in this market; I hope some new good service providers come up and kick these mediocre companies out of existence. May be if vodafone buys a stake in hutch it will put stress on quality of service.

-Pankaj

Pheonixbun said...

Your servicer do not charge for the missed call sms? That does not in China Mobile or Unicom(we only have two servicers).You will have to pay for the messages got or missed.Amazing!

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