Rants: MTNL and Airtel

MTNL blocks blogspot...or maybe it's the other way round, though I doubt it. I've been unable to access my blog since yesterday. I'm able to post via www.blogger.com, but can't read other blogs. Shekhar, Gautam, Dan and Minx in Delhi all use MTNL and can't access URL's ending with blogspot.com . Aditya in Mumbai, with an MTNL landline connection, can't access his blog or even this one. Both Ankit who's using Sify and Amit (not Varma) who's using Airtel, can access blogs.

So it's an MTNL problem. Their response:

Dear Sir,

All the below mentioned site are accessible from MTNL, ISPs network.
Pl. check again at your end.


Bah.

I wonder how the planets are aligned for customercare executives, or for Telecom companies. Airtel is the latest to do something extremely stupid.

If you've been following the news, you must be aware that the Indian Government has asked mobile companies to verify user details. Sunil Bharti Mittal commented on TV that the Government was asking mobile companies to do it's job - each citizen should be registered, and a social security number should be sufficient for mobile companies for such verifications. He's right. Ration Card numbers or PAN numbers could have been sufficient, had it not been for Governmental efficiency (an oxymoron, by the way).

So Airtel, alongwith other mobile companies, has the task of verifying all details. And they botch it up by follow an incredibly stupid procedure -

First, sometime last month, I got an SMS from Airtel, this time not a promotional one, asking me to SMS my details. I'm aware of the government order, so I message them the details.

Again, early this month, someone called me up from Airtel for my details. I informed him that I'd already SMS'ed 'em. Oh! says he, could you repeat them? I do. He thanks me and disconnects.

And today, I get a form from them for further verification, asking for all the details that I'd already submitted to them when I took the account, when I'd SMS'ed them, and when they'd called up.

If you want a re-verification, why not just call up to confirm the address and send the form?

The dumb customercare executive can't explain it. Tells me I have to fill the form, else face disconnection. Interesting 'threat'. So...how are Idea and Hutch in Delhi? If I have to submit the forms again, might as well evaluate operators and choose whichever's the best.

Oh, and before I forget - Promotional Calls and messages from Airtel. I got mine stopped by calling up customercare and telling them to stop them. In case of banks and credit card companies, either tell them that you're unemployed, or a reporter*.

* Will link to the reporter post once I'm able to access blogs. Else, just look through http://knownturf.blogspot.com

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