Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Airtel postpaid to prepaid conversion - The current trend

I have been searching a lot on this topic since many days but none of them point to latest trends. I am in mid of transitioning from postpaid to prepaid connection. Hence thought of scribbling my experiences on the migration. Most of the experiences point to negative incidents which I did not want to affirm until I experience it live. Please note that blogs are meant to be for personal use and user discretion is required while analyzing the content. This blog is not meant for promotional purpose not for campaigning. This post purely based out of my experience and completely transparent.

So why prepaid? You think I was on for moral policing for reality check?! Not at all! Following are primary reasons which tempted me to migrate from postpaid to prepaid connection.


(i) Too high rental prices: My postpaid plan was such that the rental was around Rs.320/- and STD and fixed lines charges were extra. Around 100hrs of talktime was free but only on local mobile calls. STD, roaming and fixed line charges were extra on top rental fee.

(ii) Usage: I am native of Karnataka and usage is minimal. My unbilled amount was always within Rs.100/- and the monthly rental crossing Rs.300/- does not make any sense. Also I had enabled 3G on my mobile for Rs.100/- for 300MB data per month which turned out to be Rs.430/- in total per month approximately inclusive of taxes. The 3G Internet was activated for emergency purpose. Even here, my usage never crossed 5MB. With prepaid, I can top-up flexibly whenever required. The SMS usage was also feeble turning out be hardly 10 messages/month.

(iii) Network issues: Being native of coastal Karnataka, there is always need to have coverage in Western ghats section while traveling. Except BSNL, none of the provider seem to have such facility including Airtel. Apart from this, despite the humongous campaign of 4G, it was difficult to even grab 2G speed in Bangalore itself. In my village, the situation was worst.

After lot of deliberation & statistical analysis, I finally decided to migrate to postpaid. Now comes the tedious procedural part. To my delight, the procedures were straight forward. I visited the SahakarNagar airtel shop on Saturday (21st May 2016) and paid the pro-rate rental money and filled the application. They provided new SIM and asked me the reason for transition. I highlighted above three points and after that there were no exchange of messages. He said, the application would be processed on the day itself and new SIM would be activated by Monday (23rd May 2016).

I was not expecting any fairy tale and fixating my mind that process would be tedious one or long battle. But it turned out to be effortless. My SIM was active on Monday night with incoming turning ON. However, I was not able to recharge from Airtel site and hence outgoing was still on hold. This little error popped up.



May be it requires time to update database. Anyways, I thank Airtel for delightful experience especially from the staff at SahakarNagar office for their diligent & seamless process. Features like MNP or better customer service would have streamlined such process. May be latter point per-se is direct consequence of preceding part of statement!

Requirements:

  1. One passport size photograph
  2. Carry originals of Voter-ID & Aadahar card (or any other government approved address proof document). The staff would verify & take photo copy of the originals in their office. Make sure to carry photocopies of your own as well in case need arises.
  3. Last but not least is your phone number :)

Procedure:

  1. The staff will start off by providing application and they will fill on their own based on your registered postpaid details. Make sure to provide alternate number since your SIM will be de-activated momentarily. For me, downtime was hardly around 1 hour.
  2. After paying the remaining bills on pro-rate basis, the staff will provide a new SIM card
  3. The staff will note down the SIM card number and would communicate the activation date then and there.
  4. I did not receive acknowledgement for my request, however if you wish you could request one.

Processing:

  1. I had provided my wife number as alternative. On Monday, I received the message of my request placed for migration.
  2. Around evening timeframe, my old SIM was deactivated and later I inserted the new SIM
  3. The signal was immediately recognized after phone reset.
  4. Make any call from your contact and it will immediately connect to IVR of airtel to activate the SIM. As a confirmation measure, it will ask for ID verification (for me it asked for last 4 digits of one of my government issued ID).
  5. Once done, a final message will be left asking us to restart our phone after 30mins to activate the SIM. For me, it was activated immediately without restart!
  6. The incoming was instantly active but outgoing had problems. See below section for further details

The initial recharge:

  1. The prepaid recharge as mentioned above, did not work on fly. May be it requires time for database sync.
  2. I left message to 121ATinDOTairtelDOTcom about this problem and next day I received prompt reply as well.
  3. It looks like the first recharge (FRC) should be done from retailer :(. Unfortunately, this facility is not available online.
  4. After interaction with customer service centre, I did recharge for Rs.52/- from nearby retail store which gave me talk time of Rs.36/-.
  5. They also highlighted that it would take 7-8 days to recharge prepaid online for newly connected SIM post FRC. That was not the case though! I could recharge online immediately after FRC!!
  6. Once recharged, heeeeeeeeeee haaaaaaa....! It's "Hello World!" from prepaid mobile [Programmer's style :)]
Hope this helps for anyone who wish to migrate from postpaid to prepaid airtel connection.

Settling down, I do have some typical Indian advice for Airtel [Despite knowing that it will be trashed ;)]. Rather than spending huge amount on campaigning 4G and setting up advertisements to present their network capability over mountains, they are not working on improving the infrastructure in prime cities like Bangalore. Thanks to features like MNP, it is easy to migrate to other service providers if the current provider does not take any action. But the operators can make fair choice by improving the infrastructure & customer experiences which bonds long term relationships rather than showing-off the grandeur for short term benefits.

Disclaimer: This is important part of blog! Looks to be lengthy but inevitable :)

  1. Whatever mentioned here is completely personal experience and may not match with reader's occurrence. The writer has written his sole experience and cannot guarantee the same with every airtel customer.
  2. The writer is not responsible for any unexpected deviations which may occur if customer acts by the the contents of blog.
  3. Being national operator, the blog is written solely under the assumption that mobile operator (which is airtel here) has same way of working throughout the India.
  4. The procedure mentioned applies only to Airtel postpaid customers.
  5. The instructions may or may not be applicable for porting customers from other operator to airtel.
  6. The instructions are strictly not applicable for customers of other mobile operators (other than airtel).

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