Two weeks ago, I got a mobile phone. A simple Nokia 1100. Apparently, getting a phone is the simplest part of getting a mobile phone number that you can be called at. Getting the SIM card necessary involves provoking arguments among your friends over which Service Provider is the best and why the one they use is the best they’ve ever used and stuff like that.
After much discussion and argument, I chose Airtel because:
- An Aircel or Hutch connection lost the signal inside my Computer lab while Airtel held.
- Most of my friends have Airtel.
- Hutch makes the maximum revenue per customer and owns 49% of Aircel.
- My mom uses Hutch, and she frequently loses signal while we’re in my grandparents home near the Anna Flyover
- SMSs from/to Hutch phones seem to take hours. I often see my friends getting messages 30 minutes to 4 hours after the message was sent
- Hutch is pink and owns 49% of Aircel, hence Aircel is half-pink
So anyway, I went to the little shop that was advertising selling these things that was near my house and asked for a SIM card. That’s when he started asking for my identification, proof of residence and photographs. Fortunately, home’s nearby so I hopped in the car, and fetched my stuff. After a little waiting for the fellow in front of me to finish, and after choosing my number and filling in a form, I had my phone with the card in it.
Interestingly, I couldn’t use my phone at this point. I had to wait for a message to the phone, and then call a number and set my language. After this, it was supposed to work. It didn’t. So now I went trudging back to the man and then he went all apologetic and called someone and then informed me (and 3 others having the same problem) that Airtel was having a little trouble with new registrations and that it would take another half-hour. Knowing that this was India, I expected this to take a couple of days (you know, 30 minutes GMT = rand(1,2) days IST), and went about the rest of my work grumpily. Surprisingly, within 20 minutes I had a message from the fellows at Airtel telling me I was good to go. That was impressive.
Now came the second hurdle, I, ignorant nut that I was, had chosen the Talk More plan . After consultations with Chetan, I concluded that I would not be able to switch plans to the Student Pack and would have to go through the whole routine again, so I proceeded to burn off the cash in the card. Fortunately, sleep interrupted me, and the card was saved. The next day in college, in the famed computer lab, my friend Daniel T fixed the whole problem while talking continuously of how dumb I’d been. I forgave him the second part because of the first part. Anyway, the solution to switching your pack is,
STUD to 404
They replied saying the pack would be changed in 4 hours. And in 4 hours, voilÃ , I had my student pack minus the Rs. 20 I’d burnt off the previous night.
Since then, I’ve had little trouble with Airtel. There’s no signal near the Airport, or at Nungambakkam rail station, but else-wise, it’s been very good. So here’s the guidelines to save you trouble:
- Take what’s required
- See which pack suits you the best
- Don’t retrieve voicemail
- Don’t accept any of the retarded offers from 98401 98401, or any retarded offers in fact.
At 200 something messages a day, I spend 10 bucks off my card every day. That’s pretty reasonable. In fact, when the validity expires tomorrow I’ll probably still have 5 bucks left on it. Of course I plan to recharge today anyway.
You can see a little argument over service providers here.