I still remember, Airtel bringing an unlimited local SMS pack @ Rs.99/ month way back in 2005-06. Many other companies follow the suit and a war for SMS packs started. It went through various ups and down and until September last year, Airtel was providing 10000 SMS Local/National @ less than 100 per month in Punjab. Then came the regulation of TRAI which forced a cap of 100 SMS/day on users. Airtel like many other operators were prompt to modify its SMS pack providing 100 SMS per day for a month at the same price at which it was providing 10k messages. But such promptness was not shown in November, 2011, when TRAI increased the cap limit to 200. When many operators modify their existing plans to 200 SMS/day at the same price, Airtel was among few operator which stuck to its plan introduced for 100 SMS cap. So, now with Airtel you could send 100 free or discounted SMS and will be charged Re. 1 for local and Rs.1.5 for national for the rest of 100 SMS, and the total amount collected comes out to whopping Rs.100-150 if a user sends all his 200 SMS.
Later on Airtel introduced an option where you can directly activate or deactivate SMS packs simply by dialing *555# from your mobile and then following the instructions. They give you few options out of which two are following –
- SMS Packs- RC29 :- This one gives you 300 SMS/28 days Local+STD and you can send a maximum of 200 SMS per day, hence you can exhaust your pack in two days and you won’t be charged for first 300 SMS .
- SMS Packs-RC75 :- This one gives you 2800 SMS/28 days Local+STD and you can send a maximum of 200 SMS per day, hence you can exhaust your pack in 14 days also and you won’t be charged for first 2800 SMS.
Now these options seem lucrative but there is a hidden technique of fooling people :-
- First of all it is impossible (atleast for me) to Activate SMS Pks-RC75. If you send a request for activating it, instead of activation, it gives you another prompt to activate another plan for which you will be charge Rs. 12 and get 100 SMS for 14 days. However you can activate any other of the packs. So, the most lucrative plan is not accessible. It reminds me of a Hindi proverb, “Haathi ke daant dikhane ke aur and khane ke aur”. Translation – Saying something, and doing something different altogether
- So, in an hour of need you will have to go for some other plan which nearly cost you 10 paise per SMS.
- Thirdly, I have come across with various operator which gives you an option of starting or activating a pack or service online or via Recharge from a dealer. Since, when you get you phone recharged you are charged Service tax and hardly get the full recharge amount. Hence, many honest companies charge lesser amount when you go for online or thro’ mobile option. But Airtel charges the same. So, its indirectly charging more for the same service.
So, when I failed to activate Rs. 75/- plan even after trying for various times and using Rs. 29/- pack round the clock. I went to the dealer to get Rs. 75/ – recharge. After sending few messages, I was charged for the messages. When I call the Customer Care, they told me that Rs. 75/- recharge gives the following benefit.
One can send 90 free SMS/ day for 30 days and you will be charged for the rest of 110 SMS. So, you will be charged from Rs. 110- 200 for the rest of the messages.
Here, the main concern is not about money, it is about ethics and after using the number for more than 3 years, this act has forced me to get my number ported.
So, from today onward, it’s my good bye to Airtel. And guys, be careful before choosing your service provider.