I Phone Date Announced for India

Airtel has finally given the launch date for the eagerly awaited I-Phone in India.  As of August 22nd 2008 , one will be able to purchase an I-Phone from Airtel relationship centers across India.

The price has still not been released and i concur with the reasons given by Trak.in , which suggest that the strongest possible reasons are :-

1. Street expectations for the price are around 16,000-18,000. Its possible that Airtel plans on releasing this at a higher level which would in turn affect sales. By announcing it early,it would give consumers time to look at it rationally and go in for cheaper options.

2. They have no idea on what Vodapohone plans on doing and are waiting as much as they can to get clarity on their strategy and price it accordingly.

Good news for everyone waiting for this gadget. I hope that the pricing is attractive as well.

The other parties which will get affected are all the small players who have been selling the Iphone in India , through the internet, for as much as 28 , 000 – 30,000 given the scenario. Their days of literally having a bit of a monopoly are over.

Airtel’s 8 Mbps plans Dissapoint

I knew about this a week or so before it actually rolled out into the market and was talking with one of my IT guys and both of us were very kicked about the speed, more so since we are both heavy on downloading.

But more disappointment’s than excitement post the launch. While the speeds are excellent what tends to really play foul are the download limits assigned. The cheapest 8Mbps plan is priced at 2222/- per month. Take a look at the excel below where i compare it to the 256 plan i have currently.

plan.jpg

Key Things to Note

1. The GB Limit will be reached in 2.4 minutes approximately.

2. 8Gb is equal to roughly only 12 movies.

3. If you were to keep downloading for another 2.2 minutes post crossing the limit i.e another 8GB ,the additional charges which would apply would be 0.90 Paise x 8000 MB = 7200 Rupees.

4. Cost per movie is 202 rupees which is more than what original VCD’s would cost.

So all kudos to Airtel to launch such plans but they need a more competitive pricing policy. Maybe come up with top up options which would allow users to make their plans unlimited. For someone like me, and a lot many more in India where downloading is a big activity these plans tend not to appeal eventually.

Incidentally, i would also request everyone reading this to please visit the Airtel site and look at the current broadband packages. Airtel appears to be deleting a lot of the previous options which were available, if yours is one that does not appear to be there but you are still getting a net connection, they might have put you on a different plan on their own. As illogical as it may sound , Airtel’s customer care executives made it very clear that the company was under no obligation to inform customers of plan changes. I mentioned this earlier as well on a post here.

Update as on 27th Dec 2007

I got my calculations wrong. Its not 12 seconds but 12 minutes for a 700 MB file. Please key in the update while going through the above chart. Not that it makes a big difference for me. Instead of reaching the limit in 2.4 minutes , it will now be about 2.5 Hrs.

Cell Number Migration Now Possible..

This much awaited change in the industry is finally here. The headlines in Times of Read read that the ministry has given clearance to this proposal after sitting on it for about 2 years and it will be available to consumers shortly.

While this spells a lot of flexibility and freedom for mobile consumers in India , the GSM operators themselves are not too happy. One obvious impact is the fact that they would need to become more “Customer friendly” and offer even more value adds to ensure the subscriber base does not dwindle.

The other reason , it would appear, for their frowns , is this move is being seen as something which has been initiated now to help Reliance out and offer them an easier path with respect to acquiring subscribers and their overall entry into the GSM segment. The service will initially roll out in Delhi , Mumbai , Chennai and Kolkata.

Whether that be true or not, i really dont care, this was a much awaited development which is going to benefit consumers in the long run and offer the freedom of migration which otherwise , or the lack of it, has been one of the primary reasons to not switch operators in the past. What i am apprehensive about is how “easy” in real terms will operators allow subscribers to leave…. would they for example become more stubborn in releasing security deposits, will i need to be wary of the fine print which might , now, include clauses which attempt to hinder this…?

Airtel Changes Broadband Plans – Slyly.

I had been noticing a steady decline in my overall download speed during the last few days. I attributed it to the overall Torrent / Download seed-peer equation but last night at 1 AM i noticed that the speed remianed constant at around 20kbps.

A small history – I have the 999 home plan from Airtel which i got over 1 year ago. As per the plan i was going to get 256 kbps during the day and  512 between 10 30 PM – 6 AM or so.   A pretty good plan which gets one about 1.5 GB worth of downloading every day. Avg speed during the day used to be in the region of 24-26Kbps and between 40 -45 during the night.

Decided to get in touch with Airtel. Airtel’s online live chat executives were not even aware that such a plan existed and kept harping that i had got it wrong. I called the call center which was more clued on and i was right.. Airtel had gone ahead and made amendments without any announcement or information being passed on to us consumers.

I was told that the “double speed” at night had been revoked and the constant speed would now be at 256. Upon asking as to why no information had been provide i was told “Airtel is under no compulsion to give such updates”  !!

One can take a top up of 299 and get back to the original plan. This however would mean that the total fixed cost for the plan goes to 1299 + taxes…pretty expensive in my opinion. None of the other plans come close to this. I am contemplating taking up a billing dispute with them as well now considering i was charged for a plan which i am not interested in and is no longer the one i had chosen.

Rather bad on Airtel’s part to do this in a such a manner. I might just switch to a different ISP as well now. I have the excuse to try someone new out.