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Cellular firms woo subscribers with zero rental schemes

24-May-2005
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Cellular firms woo subscribers with zero rental schemes

The lower tariffs and value added services offered by the cellular companies are luring. But there is a catch.

The hidden charges and conditions are written in such a way that subscribers hardly notice. To increase the subscribers base, every cellular service providers are trying to lure people by slashing rental rates for postpaid users.

Reliance Infocomm has introduced a next generation ‘i phone’. The company claims that its next generation fixed wireless phone is high on features and low on tariffs. It has got attractive plans for unlimited STD to all Reliance phones across India.

Apart from these, there are features such as voice mail facility at zero rental, caller line identification, 3 way call conference, call wait and call divert facilities.

The phone works like a cellphone as there were no wires attached and immune to cable-cuts, rains and carry it along when you move from room to room. The in-built modem for high speed internet connectivity at speeds up to 115 kbps and no separate ISP connection required.

Company officials claim that value of free calls almost equivalent to monthly plan charges with low call rates. A subscriber can make free unlimited calls to other Reliance phones within its circle. No need to form any group or restriction, on the number of people who can be called, a subscriber simply avail the optional unlimited talktime pack.

But a subscriber have to pay heavy charges much more than what is said in the advertisement. To get a ‘i phone’ one has to pay a deposit of Rs 4,300 (post-paid connection) in which only Rs 2,000 is refundable.

In pre-paid segment, subscriber has to deposit Rs 3,000 in which only Rs 1,000 will be refunded.

The worst part is that one cannot install the phone anywhere as it works only in 100 meter area at the place of installation. Once one get out of 100 meter range then ‘i phone’ don’t work.

A company official said that the unlimited calling facility to Reliance numbers is meant only for personal use and not for commercial use such as PCO, telemarketing, etc.

The company reserves the right to withdraw and or alter any of the terms and conditions of this offer at any time without prior notice and there is additional monthly charge for unlimited talktime pack.

A businessman in Vastrapur who uses the Reliance ‘i phone’ said, “Earlier I thought that it was good deal, but now I am regretting. Moreover, the web world denies to install it and said that you have to install at your home. I am not so tech savvy and I find it difficult to install at house and even the company does not provide in house installation service.

A Reliance official said, “We don’t have any intention to cheat customers. As far as the installation is concerned, according to new government rules, WLL mobile automatically is locked to the nearest BTS tower and that’s why a customer has to install in his house.”

Apart from Reliance Infocomm, Hutch is also offering zero rental schemes for its post-paid subscribers.

The subscribers who opt for Hutch zero rental scheme, but one has to pay a commitment charges, which many say is like rental.

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