On cell phone data plans

Until recently, I did not have a Data Plan for my cell phone connection.  Having acquired a Smartphone recently, I thought it is time to take one. Vodafone is my provider and I went to their website to get details of their postpaid data plans.

The first thing which stuck me was, how confusing the information related to data plan is.

For one, I saw three links in their home page - Downloads and More, Online Anywhere and 3G world.  So which do I visit?  Hovering the mouse over each link revealed a host of other links. 

I did not find a single link for GPRS or Data Plan.  As for 3G, it was slightly better, I saw two categories Mobile Internet and Mobile Broadband.

Among the links that I visited was Vodafone Mobile Connect. This one seemed to be what I needed since it talked about browsing the internet directly through the phone.  However, it also talked about  plugging your  phone into your PC or laptop and start browsing which I was not interested in.

It listed some plan charges, which appeared too high for me.

Then I visited the Support link for Verifone Mobile Connect. This has the following line:
If you are a postpaid subscriber, just choose the plan that suits your requirement from the list above and send its activation command to 111 (toll free)
Only there was no list above, forget the activation command.

I then browsed through the Postpaid Plans to see if I could get some enlightenment.  Here I saw some Offers:

Vodafone Mobile Connect - 2gb free 2GB internet usage per month free. Includes usage on iPhone as well Rs.99

I tried to subscribe to this online, was not sure about the result and ended up going to the Customer Service center, where my request was taken for this plan.

I ended up getting a data plan.  All was well, until I got my phone bill, where I saw two rentals - one for Rs.199/- for Vodafone Mobile Connect and another for Rs.99/- for the above plan. 

I logged into my account in My Vodafone and found that I was subscribed to both the above plans. I then tried to Unsubscribe from the Rs.199/- (through the online option).  Try as I might, it did not work.  It resolutely stayed subscribed.

I then emailed the Customer Care reporting this issue in the portal.  I got a confirmation that I had been successfully unsubscribed.

I called the Customer Care to ask why I had two plans for the same service. He agreed to take a request to revert the charges for the Rs.199/- one.  I confirmed with him that I still had the Rs.99/- plan.

But then I could no longer connect to internet from the phone.  I was now in a dilemma - problem with the plan or problem with the phone.

I thought let me start all over again and give a shot at the starting 3G Data Plan (Rs.100/- for 100MB per month).  I followed the instructions to activate it and sent an SMS to 111 with the words ACT MI100.

I promptly got a reply:  Service temporarily unavailable, will resume shortly.

Yesterday I called Customer Care again and he took my request to re-enable the Rs.99/- plan.  I write this waiting for the 24 hours for it to get enabled.

 Moral of the story:  The portal sucks.  Either misinformation or no information.  Phone calls to customer care sucks - you have to pay (Rs.0.50 for 3 minutes) and moreover you are not sure if you have got what you wanted.  A visit to Customer Care seems to be the safest option.


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