My Airtel Woes

I had bought a new Airtel SIM on Feb 8, just after FOSSMeet was over. Why? Because my previous SIM was incompatible with my N72 (Platinium Junior, let’s call it PJ for convenience). How? It said ‘Invalid SIM’ on switching it on with the SIM (although somehow I had managed one whole semester with the same SIM in the PJ as the damned thing worked on restarting the phone 2-3 times, but in December I realized, the SIM can’t go far with PJ anymore). So, I was forced to use my father’s old Nokia 2600 from the beginning of this sem.

OK back to Feb 8. I love my PJ and wanted to use it for the dictionary software, MSDict, it has; for the proper Contacts management; for reading some ebooks; for keeping To-do notes and calendar entries; for taking photos and I had been unable to do all of this for almost 2 months. So, I finally bought this new SIM - which to my utter frustration didn’t give me the benefit of 100 free SMS’s per day even after calling the customer care over 15 times in 2 months after its purchase :( . Although, I am not a SMS junkie, but I realized the importance of SMS’s during the preparation of FOSSMeet (all those calling people out for meetings or for attending events, co-ordination became really easy with free SMS’s) and missed the facility on my new SIM a lot.

On Friday last week, I was shocked to know that my incoming and outgoing service had been barred rendering the new SIM unusable (except for it still receives SMS’s). That day was second day of Ragam ‘10 and I was busy calling customer care umpteen number of times instead of enjoying Ragam to the fullest. The reason of barring the services, they told me, was that they couldn’t verify my details. I realized this was because I gave the number of my Delhi SIM in the application form and, due to my complete ignorance of this fact, had kept it (the Delhi SIM) in my wallet all this while (As I didn’t have free SMS’s on the new SIM, I couldn’t inform all my contacts of my new number and hence I had kept the older SIM in the old 2600). Anyway, my details were verified three times one by one in two days by some senior executives, each time promising my problem will be resolved in some hours. Eventually after calling the customer care service around 10 times I was told that I need to re-submit my documents for verification at some Airtel office in Calicut city.

I had been busy all the week submitting assignments and couldn’t visit their office and was back to using my old phone and SIM again until yesterday when my balance went down to 5 paise. At around 11 in the morning, I went to get a recharge and bought a Rs. 30 Top-up Card. I have always wondered what happens when this top-up card doesn’t recharge your phone, or may be, someone may have already used your 16 digit pin number (the probability is very very low, but still there is chance that some one could have used your number accidentally) and how to handle this situation when this happens - how you may have to convince the customer care for recharging your balance. Whenever I enter those 16 digits for recharging, this doubt comes in my mind as it came today also. Always, it had worked, but today was an exception - after sending the recharge request, it said ‘Congestion, try later’ in very impolite words.

Well, I showed it to Chechi at the recharge shop and she tried to help with it but to no avail. At this point, it stopped showing my balance also due to congestion. Considering it a normal network problem, I left the recharge shop thinking I will try some time later. I tried, many times, even by calling 123 which said ‘Information not available’. Even calling customer care was not easy it said ‘all lines in this route are busy’. I had planned to visit the Airtel office in the city today but I couldn’t do that also as none of my friends was willing to accompany me and I couldn’t go alone with 5 paise balance in my phone (situation is worse as tomorrow is Sunday, a holiday and then I will be busy in the week ahead). Trying to recharge later with the same pin resulted in the message - ‘Invalid combination’. Finally, at around 4 PM I was able to contact customer care, they told me there is some technical problem and they have been receiving similar calls from many customers since morning. I was told I can try after 6’0 clock and it will work. Obviously, it didn’t. After putting in the pin number this many times, I realized those 16 digits had stuck to my mind - 1752 8454 6390 8406.

I had left the idea of trying again now, but at around quarter to midnight I tried once again. To my great relief, this time, it worked.

My only question is: Why am I having this much trouble with Airtel - which claims to be the numero uno service provider in India? Even I have always said ‘Airtel is the best’ but now I wonder how right I have been this far. However, this is also true that my Delhi SIM, again Airtel, has never given me any troubles. This is only here in Kerala, that I was forced to buy another SIM because of the problems with the first and again the new SIM has bereft me of free SMS’s and then even basic incoming and outgoing call services. Why so many problems?

PS: Please post a comment to tell your opinion about Airtel or to suggest me a new service provider or just to tell whether I have been good or bad at writing this post or just for the sake of posting a comment. ;)

PS 2: As you may have noticed, after my last post, my website is back to normal in the campus network and I can write more often. So, a lot more posts will be coming on Kartik Scribbles…

PS 3: You may be wondering why am I so interested in writing when my end sem exams are around (starting from April 16), the reason is: yours truly believes he is at his creative best before and during the exams. :)

Posted in Fun In Real Life News with tags Airtel Kerala phone SIM troubled life