IDEA Cellular Needs To Get Its Act Together, Particularly Internet & Customer Care

Been an IDEA subscriber for almost a decade. True to it’s ads, IDEA has always had good connectivity, at least in Maharashtra. So hardly ever have I had issues like dropped calls or a weak signal. So if you are a basic phone+SMS kind of mobile user, IDEA is a good option. However start venturing into more advanced features and IDEA starts to struggle.

IDEA Cellular - India Mobile Operator

Internet on IDEA is not only pricier than most other networks, but it also restricts usage in MBs in cases, where other providers dont. It mostly seems to follow other operators as regards launching new Internet packages. Only when forced by other operators to drop Internet rates or improve Internet features, do I see an improvement.

I have been using IDEA 98, a prepaid GPRS plan that gets me 2GB per month but with a limit of 70MBs per day. The annoyance is that there’s no way (that is what the IDEA call center said) you can check when your 30 days expire & how many MBs you have used up. Been  using this 98 voucher every month and only once have a got a text message saying that my package expires the next day.

So a few days back, I was under the impression that my pack was still active & accidentally blew up all my prepaid balance by using the net for a few minutes. Without an Internet package, Internet on IDEA is especially pricey, costs 50+ rupees per MB. Only when my outgoing calls were stopped by IDEA, did I realize what had happened. Fume!!!

Website: The IDEA website is especially bad. It has very little if any useful info & features as regards new packs, features, shortcut numbers to get additional info… They however recently have launched an official twitter & facebook page, which is a good move. My msg on twitter did get me a reply, although it took many days.

Would you believe that IDEA actually lists Internet & GPRS as a business use on its website! How out of touch with reality can you be?

Customer Care: For over a month, I am being pestered with messages & calls, asking me to fill up a form and submit all my documents afresh. I wrote to their twitter id that my connection is many years old and if IDEA has lost my documents, they should collect them and not ask me to waste my time. IDEA customer care office is close to my place but you always have to take a token and wait for 30+ min to get to an agent. Considering the workload & number of customers looking for help / redressal, the center seemed greatly under staffed when I last visited. The response on twitter was the same as the msgs. “Go to the center, submit documents”

Have twice encountered remarkable rude agents in the complaints’ call center. In one instance I asked the rep if he was not trained by IDEA to be polite to the customer at all times? He replied, “That’s the way I speak.”

I do not know if other networks do this, but with IDEA, in some cases, you actually have to pay if you wish to speak to a customer rep for resolution on the phone. The automated / info sections are free.

Innovation: Idea unfortunately has never been at the forefront as regards launching new devices, technology or dropping its call rates. It is usually in catch up mode as regards technology or pricing.

Why am I writing this?

1) I am hoping some decision maker in IDEA will read this & this might actually lead to an improvement 2) Cause IDEA has been aggressively advertising, inviting people to switch to IDEA as part of the new mobile portability option, I think this is useful info for anybody considering a switch. 3) After the extreme annoyance of blowing all my prepaid balance in minutes (mentioned above), needed to write, to get the irritation out of my system. (I hope this isn’t coming across as a rant, but if you wish, do factor that in)

It is likely that I will continue to stick with IDEA, but I definitely am evaluating a switch to a more Internet friendly provider.

Aside: If you are thinking of switching under the mobile number portability scheme do make note of which operators have a 3G license for your zone / circle. You do not want to be stuck with a latest 3G ready phone but an operator that doesn’t support 3G. So for example in Maharashtra, only Tata Docomo (Tata Com), IDEA Cellular, Vodafone & BSNL have a 3G license.