If you live in Mumbai, you’re one of two people. Either, you’ve been on Vodafone all your life, or you’re one of those who wanted Vodafone since a while but wouldn’t go for it because it was too expensive.
Nothing changed when Vodafone released it’s shiny new 3G Service. It was expensive, Rs.850 for 3GB? That sounded like madness at the time. Right?.. Wrong.
I thought the price was perfect. Why? This may sound callous, but it meant that the options above, stayed true. You either preferred Vodafone because it had priced itself higher than the competitors or you stayed away due to the price being too high.
People like me, willing to pay a marginally higher price for their magnificent network in Mumbai, profited. We got amazing 3G coverage and strength. The connection would never let you down. Always fast, always eager to refresh Twitter or Download that top 10 app. This holds true for even their 2G Network. It’s simply the best in Mumbai. If you want a reliable network for calls and texts, Vodafone can be your only choice in Mumbai. Nothing comes close.
Vodafone seemingly always cared about it’s customers, which made you believe that you’re spending your hard earned money wisely. Their “Power to You” campaign, seemed to reinforce that thought. Again, wrong.
They’re good. I’ll give you that. Maybe better than the other telecom companies as well. But the shit I’ve seen at their Customer Care centers, leaves a lot to be desired. They’re great to you, as long as you ask for something they’re willing to do. When you ask them anything which sounds remotely in favour of the customer and not Vodafone, they immediately shoot you down.
I’ve seen Vodafone executives in their stores grab collars of customers. I don’t care how much that customer may have verbally abused the executive, resorting to physical violence, isn’t the answer. It never was, and it never will be.
Here’s an example of what happened to me. I brought this up on Twitter around January this year. I needed a new MiniSIM for my shiny new Galaxy Nexus. Since I had cut my MiniSIM into a MicroSIM for my iPhone 4, because Vodafone, didn’t have MicroSIM’s for us when the iPhone 4 released. They really care right?
I went to the Vodafone store, of which the closest one to my house is 6.6km away. Breach Candy to Churchgate is no joke in the morning rush hours. I talked to this executive called “Kanaiya”, that’s what his name-tag said, anyway. Sweet guy, told me sweetly to go and get the proper documents.
The next-day, I did just that. Every document he had requested was presented to him. What does he say next?.. “Sir, this document is missing a signature!”. I calmly told him, that he didn’t ask for it. “It’s obvious!”, he replies. “Are you implying that I’m an idiot? I got you everything you asked for, now simply give me the SIM, I can’t waste days and days coming here for a simple thing as getting a replacement SIM, when the current SIM is with me!”.
He goes on telling me how he can’t do that because of a missing signature. I eventually got annoyed and walked off calling him an ‘asshole’ under my breath but just loud enough so that he could hear it. Why? Because he deserved it, as he was acting like one.
He retorted by saying “Hey! Don’t abuse, OKAY?!” and a look at his security guard. Both, the size of an average girl by the way. I was with my friend, so I turned right around and ask him what he would do. Then he replies, like a little chump, “I won’t give you your SIM.” I just told him, that I’d like to see his kahunas when 2 Gold and 2 Platinum phone numbers leave his network, due to his stupidity. After which, the manager got involved and eventually, I got my new SIM.
All this, for a replacement SIM Card. Can you believe it?.. Neither can I. In hindsight, that should have been reason enough to leave this network. But alas, their 3G Network had my geek captured.
Why do I bring this up now, you ask?
Vodafone really cares about their customers. After Airtel cutting their 3G rates to rock-bottom prices, Vodafone followed suit. You can get a good 3G plan, which gives you 1GB of data transfer (enough for a normal person), for as low as Rs.250.
What does this mean? This means that Vodafone’s Mumbai 3G Network is now worse than AT&T.
1) If you work in Fort, Colaba, Cuffe Parade, Parel, Lower Parel, etc. Forget about 3G during work hours.
2) If you live at Breach Candy, Peddar Road, Bandra, Cuffe Parade, Malabar Hill, Nepean Sea Road, or just about anywhere in Mumbai, forget about 3G. Period. Go back to your Wi-Fi.
3) You can’t get a stable connection at any location during the day. Why?
4) Remember the times when you got 5-8mbps on Vodafone 3G? Forget about it. You’ll be lucky to get a connection now, and when you do, lucky to get 1mbps.
5) If you work mobile and tether. Forget it. I haven’t been able to get a stable connection for the last 2 weeks while travelling.
Why? It’s because Vodafone didn’t account for the influx of new customers, who pay a fraction of what we did when 3G just released and didn’t upgrade their towers, servers, backbone, etc.
What did they do to keep us old users quiet? Increase our data allowance from 3GB to 6GB. A very helpful move, if I could ever get a stable connection for over 2 minutes.
I woke up about a couple of hours ago, and I haven’t been able to refresh twitter or load one email for the past 3 hours, through Vodafone 3G.
I tried downloading the other day, and I kid you not, I got 30KB/s, which is 256kilobits, which is hopeless.
So yes, you still think Vodafone cares? Newsflash. No, they don’t and they never have.
What can we do about it?
1) Share this article as much as possible so we could get some sort of response from the higher ups at Vodafone about the situation.
2) Leave comments. I’d love to add more experiences to this article, so it can carry more weight.
3) Leave the network for greener pastures. Although, I don’t know what those really are.