Monday, November 18, 2013

Network Blues

When I heard about network portability being introduced in India, I was glad that I would be able to get rid of the poor mobile network in my home.

Those days I was using Idea!, which was popular as the cheapest mobile network of the time. Well, in college days, cheapest is usually the best, isn't it? Thankfully, the network quality wasn't cheap when I subscribed to it and there were many competitive offers on messaging and calls, due to which majority of my classmates also were on Idea! Rather the Idea! network used to be so good initially, that I could hear crisp words from the other side even while I was hiding in my quilt ;)

But this luxury didn't last for long and I eventually found myself on the street outside my home from the comfort of the quilt. I was then in my fourth year, and became so much desperate for the possibility to hop to another network without losing my contact number, that my final year presentation was on MNP (Mobile Network Portability).

There is a funny incidence too, which is worth sharing. Once I went to Jim Corbett National Park with my office colleagues and our guide took us in the middle of the jungle, where he stopped the jeep and said, "Guys, your mobiles are now disconnected from the world. No network reaches here...". While he was saying this, I popped out my phone from the pocket and voila! two solid bars of network. When I checked with others, none of the Vodafone (then Hutch) or Airtel guys could defy what the guide just said; but the plight was the same at my home.

Not long after this, I was able to move to Vodafone. It was my preferred network because most of my family members were on Vodafone and they were having good experience with it and there were intra-network offers too.

After using it for almost an year, I realized that even Vodafone had gradually fallen below the quality threshold one would expect from a mobile company as large as this. Slowly this network problem started surfacing in my office too and it crossed the limits of my patience when I started missing urgent calls. This time I ported my mother's number to Airtel who was also facing issues with network at home.

After a while, when I was sure that Airtel is behaving fine in my room and the living room, even though it is expensive than others, I decided to use the port lifeline for the second time. This was not going to be an easy journey because seemingly Vodafone doesn't want to lose customers (well, no one wants) and they offered me highly slashed rates to keep me from going for at least 2 more weeks. I was convinced to enjoy these offers but realized that what worth are they if I don't have the network to use them.

So, I sent another porting request for moving from Vodafone to Airtel. A Vodafone customer executive again tried to hold me back by even getting to the extent of saying that I can't port for at least 6 more months because I have agreed to stay with Vodafone by accepting the special offers. Bang! I lost my senses! But I saved myself by telling him the spellings of consumer court ;)

Finally, I am now with Airtel. Last Friday, I was running late for my office and it was already 5 minutes past my usual pick up time, I was wondering why hasn't my cab mate called me yet to inform that the cab has reached. I picked up the phone, and saw, "Emergency calls only!".

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