Thursday, May 17, 2012

Airtel prepaid validity - An intriguing question

More than 90% of Indians use Prepaid mobile phones. So it is very common for people to simply purchase a SIM card with INR 100 (~ $ 2) and throw it off after a week. (By the way on a separate note these kinda experiences and unmatching financials shows why I don't believe the 100 mil subscriber numbers by Bharti, RIL etc)

The problem I am having is keeping a number permanently (or atleast for few years) so my banking systems, train reservation systems & other online systems doesn't have to be updated every few months. I've tried all the options other than subscribing to a post paid (which is not very cheap or 'doesnt offer value to me')

  1. Airtel Customer care told me that the "sim" validity is typically 35 or 40 years (?) and you can check with *123# USSD code. However the 'main' account has a validity period of 2 months so if you don't use or make any calls within the 2 months your number with remaining balance is gone
  2. Online forums says one year validity; 45 days validity; 
  3. The salesman at Airtel store told me that it's 90 days. So every 3 months I've to recharge with minimum RC card 
My experiences're quite diff. 

  1. I've a SIM card with "0" balance which is not dead even it's 2 years old.
  2. I've a new SIM card with 300 balance (supposed to be) but dead within 1 month
  3. I've a 3G data card which is dead within one week after I utilized the complete data.

Conclusion: Anything can happen in India. So go for a post-paid if you want to avoid the hassle. If not follow the crowd. Don't expect Airtel (or other telecom) to offer 'service'. It sucks and they charge per minute basis :)

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