Moneylife survey indicates that 74% of respondents have suffered call drops and poor network reception during roaming from one telecom circle to another
Moneylife Digital Team 23 August 2011

The survey also revealed that 58% are unhappy with their current service provider and a majority of users have a common complaint against all providers for not having a proper redressal mechanism in place and not acknowledging the issues faced by subscribers

Highlights of  the survey

  • 58% out of 518 respondents are unhappy with their current mobile service provider
  • 35% agreed that there is sudden spurt in the number of promotional calls while on roaming
  •  18% of respondents are being charged for rejecting or not picking promotional calls
  •  66% agreed that they cannot choose the network on their choice manually while on roaming.
  •  74% users agreed that they have faced the problem of call drops
  •  Only 10% used mobile number portability

So you thought that 3G was the best thing to happen to mankind since sliced bread? Think again. A Moneylife survey on telecom services has thrown up some shockers—58% out of 518 respondents are unhappy with their mobile service provider. A majority of the respondents were Vodafone users, followed by Airtel and BSNL.

What's more, 3G users who have availed of roaming services are being inundated with unsubscribed charges, call drops... and a whole host of complaints. And 3G has been touted as technology that will change the face of mobile telephony and ensure high-speed Internet connectivity over a cell-phone. Forget hi-tech facilities, 3G service providers have been found lacking even in providing basic facilities.

The survey also proved that there is a sudden spurt in the number of promotional calls—and charges levied for receiving such calls—while roaming. A total of 35% of the respondents have agreed that this is a major problem; 42% have not faced this problem so far. In some cases, users complain that a balance is deducted even if they have not receiving, or rejected incoming calls. "Roaming charge of Rs90 was deducted for answering a promotional call," said one respondent.

The survey also indicated that 18% of respondents are being charged for rejecting or not picking promotional calls, while 37% denied this was happening and 44% were unaware if they are being charged while roaming across different telecom circles. Around 30% also agreed that they were charged for receiving promotional SMS messages.

Telecom companies are also charging users under the pretext of offering some kind of value-added service—such as GPRS facility—which the user has not subscribed for. "Without demanding, they charge under different heads like ringtones, MMS live, messages and calls made to the customer care service centre," said a respondent. Another reply says, "They (service providers) ignore the Do Not Disturb registry and charge money by sending various types of SMS (messages) as per their wish."

Many users complain that charges applied on roaming are non-transparent, and telecom providers refuse to acknowledge these complaints. "Roaming rates are substantially higher and non-transparent," said one reply. Another respondent suggested, "(I) don't know what Reliance charged me for. It deducted the whole balance from my account and when I enquired, it said I had made a call and refused to give full details regarding the call."

It is also learnt that while the users are on roaming, the service provider automatically changes according to the telecom circle, without giving the user the option of manually selecting the network of their choice. According to our survey, 340 out of 518 respondents (around 66%) have agreed to this.

Call drop rates and poor network reception are other major issues faced while the roaming facility is activated. A total of 74% users agreed that they have faced this problem—only 20% said they haven't faced this issue. "Call drops take place not only while roaming, but even between Mumbai and Navi Mumbai (on the home network)."

When asked about other issues faced during roaming, numerous replies suggest that poor 3G network and call drops were the major issue. On an average, users have a common complaint against service providers for not having a proper redressal mechanism in place and acknowledging the issues faced by subscribers.  
According to the survey result, only 10% of the 518 respondents have used mobile number portability. A majority of them have shifted to Vodafone and Airtel, from their current service provider. 44% replied that they are satisfied with the new service.

A Banerjee
1 decade ago
I have BSNL and Vodafone mobile connections, both with perennial call drop problems. Vodafone is the extreme, in my opinion, totally unmindful of the inconvenience of the users.
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