Airtel too a sick service

I've been using Airtel for almost 6 yrs now and was happy with them, although expensive, till 2 yrs back. But the service went drastically bad in a short span of time and since then, it has neither recovered nor do they care any more! In fact, now they use as many cheap tactics as their competitors, if not more.

The recent problem is roaming support. I've a Karnataka connection and I'm in Maharashtra now, using only their mobile office (MO). They claim that there are no roaming charges on MO, but every time I request the service, it costs me anywhere between 7 to 15 rupees over and above the MO charges! An incoming SMS costs me 7 rupees, where I do not have a choice to receive; I hope TRAI does something about it! An easy recharge SMS claiming full talktime on 251, no taxes, returns only 223! If I call 121, I don't get through the line. If I do go through, it cuts me when I press 9 to speak to support personnel. If I do get through to the support, they ask me to call 9845098450, thats Karnataka support no. And yes, that will cost me STD plus roaming charges, they say! I'm stuck!

Recently, one of these bunch of cheats was fined following a customer's complaint. The fella had happily dialed a *free-tune download* as advertised by the service provider. He was charged for that, since although they had advertised it as FREE, they did have a small note that said it will cost!!! Whatever the heck did the ad mean then?

Here's an email that I shot off to

I'm your prepaid customer from Karnataka Circle. I've the following things gone wrong with my connection.

i) On March 13, 2007 and today, March 27, 2007, I received an sms that said easy recharge for Rs. 251 and get full talk time. Both times, I did an e-recharge and got only 223 odd rupees!

ii) Currently, I'm in Maharashtra and use mobile office (MO). Each time I subscribe to MO for a week, I lose Rs. 114 instead of Rs. 99. Your website says there are no roaming charges on MO.

iii) Your 121 number is not easily reachable in roaming. When I get through, it gets disconnected on pressing 9 to speak to a CSE! Today, finally I was able to speak to the CSE and he asked me to call 9845098450 for Karnataka support, but he added that it would cost me roaming charges, for *support*!

Finally, I'd like to ask you clarifications on all of the above ASAP by email *only*. Any incoming call from you will cost me an additional Rs. 1.75 perhaps, while SMS Rs. 7!

Being an Airtel user for around 6 yrs who's switched from postpaid to prepaid but stuck on to the company, it saddens me that Airtel has also followed unethical business policies to make money!