Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Mobile phone network providers can rob you in the name of SMS recharge

I could not stop with local calls analysis article when the SMS tariff was even crueler on us. Here I present you my findings on how easily a network operator robs you, sad part you don’t even know notice it. As I did in my last post I use my own network provider Airtel for the purpose of analysis, and I’m deeply sorry to them for exposing their meanest tariff policies.

Straight away I give you all the SMS tariff plans available for Chennai customers from Airtel. Following table is a screenshot from their website. Link - https://pay.airtel.com/online-payments/prepaidResponse.do

SMS recharge tariff as listed in Airtel website
Now for the analysis part, here plans Rs.18, Rs.49 and Rs.92 are standard & straight forward, the actual amount you pay is equal to recharge amount. So what about the rest – Rs.26, Rs.36 & Rs.61? They are vampires feeding on your talk-time. Previously the content in the bracket was “1st SMS of day charged @ 49 Ps” and now they are going to charge you for the second SMS also, yes they are greedy.

Why I call them vampire? Let’s first find who still uses SMS recharges after the advent of Whatsapp, hike, viber or any other messaging app. Mostly student who can’t afford a smartphone and low income group. Both these groups depend on small recharges from Rs.10 to maximum Rs.50, which they get as pocket money or it’ll be the maximum amount they can spend on phone, end result? After processing fee and service tax they get talk-time about 83% of what they spent as money, so for Rs.10 they might get 8.3 INR as talk-time and similarly for Rs.50 – 41.5 INR or even below that. And the daily deduction on first 2 SMS goes from talk-time not actual money so when they debit 49 Ps they are effectively debiting 59Ps!

With that let’s get to how much you are going to pay effectively, for streamlining I equate talk-time with money though they are not. For calculating effective money spent we will make an assumption that we send at least 2 SMS every day, and so you’ll be charged 98 Ps (49ps per SMS) every day. Multiple 0.98 with cutter duration in days you’ll have the additional amount details, add that with recharge amount you have effective amount spent, relax I have gone that tough job and tabulated it for you.
Sounds like picking standard, straight forward cutters is smart

Shocking? Oh yeah you are spending more money on all the three vampire cutters to get lesser number of SMS quota than the standard cutters offers. Unless you are going to use the entire quota for national SMS which is smaller for standard cutters, given that this is rare we can conclude that they are robbing.

Now for additional dose, blackout days! Friendship day, Diwali, Pongal... its time for predator networks to charge more! Have you ever asked this question? - If cutter validity is for 28days, if Diwali falls in that period then for that one day the plans won't be applicable. So, should TRAI intervene here and gets us our 1 rightful day instead of truncated 27days? Mustn't the cutter be extended by one day when a blackout day falls in cutter period? why no one cares about this? raise your voice oh mighty customers!