It is no secret that early adopters of any new product or service are often served with the worst in terms of quality and reliability. Mobile phone users in Mumbai are coming to terms with this trend, as far as 3G connectivity is concerned.
One of the advertised
features of 3G is no dropped calls, when moving from a 3G to a non-3G (EDGE/GPRS) area. Unfortunately, businessman and Vodafone user Nikhil Mathew fond out otherwise. “My call reliability has gone down tremendously, which is very irritating. If I’m on the move, my network just goes blank for a few seconds before switching to EDGE, and calls invariably get disconnected. Sometimes, this happens when I’m stationary. It’s come to a point where I keep 3G off and only enable it when I need to.”
Event marketing professional Mazher Ramzanali who uses both BSNL and Vodafone 3G on his iPad and iPhone thinks likewise too. “My network has been suffering ever since I switched to 3G. For instance, on the day of the India-Australia match, it was 3G that went for a toss with hardly any connectivity,” he says. Mazher also mentions that BSNL 3G (which uses the MTNL network in Mumbai) “is nothing but a glorified version of EDGE. Many areas across the city such as South Mumbai have close to zero connectivity.”
Entrepreneur Sid Khanna plans to steer clear of MTNL altogether: “I bought an MTNL 3G card, but it was useless as I couldn’t manage to get it activated. The customer service people were highly confused about the settings for my iPhone,” he says. “It was hardly any different at the Vodafone store either. They simply said that it wasn’t supported on the latest iPhone, which is an outright lie as I managed to get it working fine.” Santosh, a member of Indian technology forum techenclave.com, had a similar issue with his HTC Wildfire mobile phone. “Vodafone replied that 3G is not supported on the Wildfire. I got it working later by first putting my SIM card in another phone to send the activation message.”
The only thing 3G has managed to get right so far is speed, but users are left in the lurch as far as plans and pricing is concerned. Ad executive Karl Bharucha is outraged at the premium pricing, saying, “It’s ludicrous to charge a premium for the service. 3G plans should replace existing 2G plans, and the latter should either be ditched or subsidised. It happens in every other segment, be it cars or consumer electronics. Why should it work any differently here?”