Even as the rest of the world is getting ready to move on to 4G, people in India are just beginning to get a taste of 3G. However, the mobile service providers seem hell bent on playing spoil-sport by imposing ridiculously low data limits on pretty much all 3G plans. The state-owned BSNL used to be among the better 3G carriers, courtesy of its 6 months unlimited plan (without any fair usage policy) for Rs. 4,200. However, that promotional plan expired on January 29, and soon after, BSNL withdrew all unlimited plans, and replaced them with new capped ones. One can’t really blame BSNL for that move as, at this moment, the competition is simply not there. Even the more expensive limited bandwidth plans offered by BSNL are much better than what most private mobile operators are providing.
The change was announced in the second week of February, and the new plans came into effect on the 18th. However, BSNL being the master of mess-ups, messed it up big time while making the change. In their infinite wisdom, BSNL switched all postpaid customers from existing plans to the new ones. Users who had paid Rs. 4,200 in advance for six months of unlimited data connection were transferred to the revised plan with a 15 GB usage limit, without any prior notification.
This situation came to light, when earlier this month, BSNL started issuing interim bills amounting to thousands (and even lakhs) of rupees to these users, followed by disconnection of their mobile services. As you might expect, users flummoxed and worried by the massive bills have been taking to online forums and discussion groups to voice their anger and concern.
When I reached out to BSNL customer care, I was told that BSNL is aware of this issue. Services of all disconnected users have been restored. However, a final decision on this matter is still pending. The customer care representative was optimistic that the interim bills will be revoked; however, she declined to confirm that.
The lack of professionalism and poor service has been one of the reasons BSNL Cellone has been struggling to compete with the likes of Idea, Airtel and Vodafone. This incident is just another example. Let’s hope that BSNL will at least be swift in resolving the situation.