loooong post ahead. but guess it wont be that boring either :)
Falling in love is always expensive. Especially when it comes to a long distance relationship. Well, I am not here to complain. I am really enjoying every bits and pieces of this love. Today lets talk about how we actually connect ourself. err.. phone conversations alright??
Long distance relationships would mean more phone calls, extended hours on call, more rail/flight/bus tickets and added electricity bills cos of internet usage and late hour sleep :P Yeah yeah i know that all these shouldn't be kept on a count when you are in love. but sweet heart, we are living in a world hit by recession, ain't we?
My phone bills were no exception. i wished Airtel was kind enough to stop sending me bills, but they weren't! I got the bills on time and that was not all, they send me reminder messages and gives me at least two reminder calls before payment due date.
Initially I used to get warning messages right when i enter the last week of every month. The messages declared that I have crossed my credit limit. When I mentioned it to their CS Agent I was assured that it would be rectified. And I see the next month bill - my credit limit has rose from 3.5k to 8.5k! wow, customer service i say!
okies. this post was supposed to be about BSNL! So as you could imagine Airtel was already burning a hole in my pocket. I started the hunt for a mobile service which could give me a cheaper call rate across state borders. I wandered across the terrains of GSM and CDMA. Atlast i reached the valley of BSNL. The roads which lead to the door was less used, at least by the crowd i knew. I gave a blind eye to the warning signboards as my eyes were fixed on their rate card.
Okies, so we do have a lot of positive things to be told here. The plan which I took is called the 725 plan. Its a postpaid plan and it gives me the option of selecting one BSNL STD landline number [you know whose number i chose] and all calls made to that number would be free. Further, all local calls made to BSNL landline/WLL/Mobile would be free of cost. The highlight - all STD calls made to BSNL landline/WLL/Mobile phones would be charged ONLY 40 paise per minute. These calls could be made free of cost after 11 pm and before 6 am! wow - wut a plan! How many of you knew such a plan existed? Okies all you souls who are living away from your family/love/friends and who make extensive number of STD calls [to BSNL numbers] could thank me - I have a paypal account :)
alright, now come back to earth. you wana know about the sign boards i ignored initially, don't ya? i checked the tariff online here. When I reached the BSNL customer care centre [yes you have to find out a CC centre and fill a form and give them your beautiful fotograph pinned with your address proof to get hold of that tiny little sim card] they had a tariff card which reflected different set of data. That card was a year old and the person in the counter refused to accept that there was a free call number allowed for this plan.
the person in counter[CR]: "saab aise free calls diye tho sab log yeh plan nahi lethe kya? aaj thak koi nahi aaya aisa bolke"
me: "arrey par aap ka site mein tho likha hein ki ek free call hein aur baaki ke numbers ko 40 paisa hein. "
CR: "aap kuch bhi bol lo saab, aisa kuch plan nahi hein. yeha pe bas yeh plan hein. aapko lena hein tho le lo."
by this time the floor manager came to my rescue. he checked the data i had with me and went to his desk. after a while he was back with a smile.
FM: "sir, this information you got here is right. the tarif we have at the counter is a year old. this data is new. however i see that there is NO free calls on offer. you could make calls to one number at 20 ps per minute compared to others which cost you 40 ps"
I was too tired to argue. I thanked him and took the sim. I had this thought that the people at the help desk would resolve all my issues. They would have access to the latest info, wouldn't they? So I got my sim card and they give you only the card - no pocket book, no cover, no leaflets, nothing. just a card. I was wondering what the Customer care number would be!
The connection took 2 days to get activated [compared to Airtel which takes an hour!] I tried the usual CC numbers - 111, 121, 123 no help! There is always internet for help. So I found out the number from BSNL site and called them from my landline. Note that the new connection is not activated yet and I did not get the number yet. [Airtel gives you a number on spot!]
I selected the language option as ENGLISH and waited for a CSR.
CSR: "cheppandi sir, em kavali" [telugu][tell me sir, what can i do for you]
me: "err, i need some information about plan 725."
CSR: " prepaid sir?"
me: (i never knew prepaid had plan 725!) "no. postpaid"
CSR: "number cheppandi sir" [telugu][tell me the number sir]
me: [still wondering why is he talking in telugu] "i dont have a number. its a new connection."
CRS: "okka nimisham sir" [telugu][one minute sir]
me: "ok" waits for 6 minutes and the call gets disconnected!
Welcome to the superior service of B S N L.
Call # 2:
CSR: "cheppandi sir, em kavali"
me: [not again!!] "i need some information about plan 725."
beep beep beep beep. The call got disconnected. He did not like my tone or my language!
Call # 3:
CSR: "cheppandi sir, em kavali"
me: "can you talk english or hindi please" [i really doubt their IVR system now. its must be getting routed to the wrong place!]
CSR: "okka nisham sir"
CSR 2: "boliye sir"
me: [thank God. National language is any day better] "muje 725 plan ke baare mein jan na hein"
CSR 2: "number boliye sir"
me: "number nahi mila. naya connection hein"
CSR 2: "call rates jan na hein sir?"
CSR 2: [explains everything] "sir par hum yeh confirm nahi kar sakthe ke aapka f&f (friends and family) number activated hein ya nahi. uske liye aapko pehle bill cycle complete karna padega." [wow, i like gambling!]
me: "okies. thanks"
so here I completes one bill cycle. the happy news is that my f&f number is activated. the bill is quite transparent. no extra charges. they gave me a detailed bill free of cost. i can pay the bill online. the coverage is the best and the clarity is good. Over all BSNL is indeed a good experience BUT you have to forget the fact that there is a service desk!