Are Operators Application Only specific Offerings worth enrolling for? : Our Analysis

Users who have activated this Application only specific offerings may be aware of what this article all about. Our Operators have the habit of offering same thing if one operator starts something. This might be because of competition, really a good product to offer or with a threat that customers may move out to that operator for that offering alone.

There may be some situations with operators too where they really are not interested to offer something but are just offering for name sake and are totally not bothered about the worthiness of the product. This Whatsapp or Application/url only specific Offering comes under very innovative category where Operators claim they are providing users with first of its kind experience and users pay only for the application/url they use and nothing more.

In Real life scenario let us take Whatsapp only Data plan and an android /Windows Phone/IOS OS Phone for example.

As soon as we switch on Data you all know what really happens, Data uplink/Downlink or Sync (may or may not start depending on phone specific settings).

From Customer’s Perspective:

There is no need for any end user who activates this Whatsapp or app specific offering Data plan to

  1. Only have those applications installed on their phones. 
  2. Have all other applications installed as well, but block or restrict access to internet using different cumbersome methods (be in inbuilt or using different applications) . - Does a user is required to take so much of pain to block/unblock those background apps from using data every time just for sake of these plans?
  3. Be technically very aware of how exactly this plan works. - Not every smartphone user is a geek 
  4. Uninstall every app other than those apps and block data access to all other background process which use Data.

From Operator’s Perspective:

  1. It’s not possible to provide only Data access to those applications by blocking real access to internet, as any user who is active on such app specific data plan can’t access internet even if they are ready to use it on pay as you go plan which is very troublesome and restrictive to user.
  2. Neither the operator can prevent the background Data consumed by other apps on user’s device nor the user can stop completely the Data transfer with other apps or device.

With smartphones all around even when no Application is installed or running the device consumes a small amount of Data when Data is enabled on devices.Consider at least 1MB/day data transfer in any worst scenario on smartphone and with operators charging base rate of 2p/10KB which accounts 2op/100KB and approximately ~2Rs/day which totals 60Rs/Month + Whatsapp charges ~16Rs/Month = 75~ Approximately. Any user can go directly for ~75rs GPRS pack and enjoy services happily without those  .10, .50 paise deduction pop ups always on screen.

Personal Experience with Reliance: I used a Symbain S50 device to check how it’s really working with no background applications using data or email configured.Activated whatsapp plan and with in 4 hours 7rs got deducted from my account with no images/voice/Video transfers in whatsapp.

Reliance Whatsapp plans

I just have only One question: Dear TATA DOCOMO, is this plan required from your end to users? pity :(  Do you think Whatsapp will work flawlessly on your Innovative Data connection and users will rely on it? Instead of sharing all my moods and updating my status, my Whatsapp status would be Connecting … always.

Tata Docomo Whatsapp Plans

Good to see Airtel is offering this kind of offering for free. This is useful only for users on Mobile platforms running OS like S40, Asha or java based platforms where no background Data is consumed. Airtel FB Plans

When i tried to voice out my opinion as a end user through twitter , some geeks replied back too ;)


Our Perspective:

Many users have become victims of these kind of misleading benefits as most users may not be aware of what really happening in the background and ultimately lose money with these technically glitched plans.

Do you expect a real smartphone user will use their phone just with these app/url only data offerings or non smartphone users are happily enjoying these plans without a single paise of extra deductions.Then for whom are these plans for?

Instead of offering these worthless benefit packs and increase CC traffic on queries and complaints, its better if you offer monthly validity plans with lesser data benefits just like what Aircel did, so that users will enjoy complete benefits within their limited data.

Aircel plans

I wonder if operators wanted to cash as much as they can on such type of products or just introduce them without testing in real life scenarios?

Some of the user cases we have heard so far:

  1. CC says we can only send texts with these kind of plans.
  2. CC says you have a limit of 30MB/Day and you will be charged on data transfer for images,audio or videos transferred via whatsapp.
  3. No proper CC technical support regarding these app specific plans.
  4. Even on a java or a non smartphone device we have faced deductions on only using these applications.

Dear users, are you a victim of any of these application specific offerings from operators? You may be a happy user of these plans as well. What ever it is Do share us your feedback via comments. 


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  • Anish (Kolkata) February 2, 2014 9:29 pm

    I am using Tata Docomo’s Facebook & Twitter pack for many days on my Nokia 301 Dual Sim which is a feature phone. What I can say is, not a single paisa has been deducted from my account balance while using this pack. The annoying things with Tata Docomo is that it doesn’t have good network strength in all areas and every 15 minutes, internet disconnects and a USSD message for balance gets displayed.
    This type of pack is very useful for me, as I am paying for only what I use.

    If you use these packs on a smartphone, then obviously your balance would get deducted due to background data transfer.

    Aircel provides monthly data packs with as less as 100MB but since then Aircel launched these packs, several problems started to appear in Aircel. Most of the time, after using internet for few minutes, the downlink stops and there remains no option than manually reconnecting internet. Sometimes, it refuses to initiate a new connection, and the solution is to try reconnecting until it gets connected (it took once 42 retryies to get connected).

  • Tenji John February 1, 2014 12:28 am

    Tata Docomo are totally taking customers for a ride. Stopped reconnecting data after the 40 minutes data disconnect policy. No more responses to emails. Removing 3G from many areas in Pune without intimation….Baner, Pimple Saudagar, Kondhwa, Viman Nagar. No more resolving network issues. Its all ready to be gobbled by a big player.

  • Yogesh Sarvade January 30, 2014 6:45 pm

    Thank you Shrikapardhi sir for raising this issue. These application specific packs are just another clever tactics of mobile operators to fool their users. In care of tata gsm They make hidden conditions like for text chat only and not for video or audio sharing. And if background data not restricted then due to sync n other operations these operators are free to charge from main balance.

  • jeff January 29, 2014 10:18 pm

    different apn can be used just for what’sapp and it should block all other data services! if a customer needs to access data he should change thd apn ! so no extra charges on these plans

  • dskushwaha January 29, 2014 7:12 pm

    Nice job! Keep it up.

  • Radhika January 29, 2014 5:42 pm

    +1 i must say Excellent article,showing the real greedy cheating poilicies of all operators with such so called unlimited app based plans..
    Reliance is also applying very unprofessionl practice on DATA Packs deductions also..
    been monitoring this for 2 months,earlieer thought its was may be just for me,but regularly monitoring my usage,reveal the true facts…

    Will send the SS and details to TT soon with this month data report..

  • SS January 29, 2014 1:09 pm

    First of all, thanks Srikapardhi for this article as i wanted it on telecom talk.

    Now, lets analyse the operators in our country. How many of them innovate something new and implement it properly? There is just one which is Airtel. I am not favouring it but instead telling the reality. The latest example is the new missed call alerts mechanism in airtel. Now, he you call an airtel subscriber and that phone is switched off, when the person turns his phone on, he would get the mca sms but the person who called you will also get an sms that the person is now available to take calls right now. This wasn’t available with any operator as per my knowledge.

    • ajy January 29, 2014 1:30 pm

      Dear ss you knowledge is not up to date i am reliance postpaid customer and this facility already available in relaunce both in prepaid and postpaid even in Reliance if you don’t have balance and you call someone he will get the message that following number is try to call you and following number is available

      • SS January 29, 2014 2:31 pm

        Circle? Paid or free?

      • S.Sudhakar January 29, 2014 2:57 pm

        Tell the circle. Do not create publicity here.

        • ajy January 29, 2014 4:24 pm

          Mumbai circle…but i have check this in Himachal also it work there when i used Himachal reliance number…good point is that when you don’t have balance and you tried to call reliance number then also it send sms that following number is trying to call you

      • rajiev January 29, 2014 6:35 pm

        it’s working in delhi too!

      • Zeeshan January 29, 2014 8:24 pm

        Yaa correct even reliance for maharashtra have the same facility & its totally free
        and its not new its from 5yrs around

    • Stephen January 29, 2014 7:56 pm

      I was enjoying this MCA facilty with Reliance mobile till sms termination charges came up.
      Still SMS will be received by the calling party if he is also using Reliance when not reachable.

    • milind January 29, 2014 8:29 pm

      Loop in Mumbai is giving this type of service as MCA Plus.

      • ajy January 29, 2014 8:42 pm

        Reliance is also giving world class service. But only with cdma network..after avoid reliance gsm service is good..but they are giving all service to their customer only marketing service in right way is problem….vodafone is too costly in Mumbai they are ruling in Mumbai because they have 900mhz frequency..hope after the auction other player acquire 900mhz frequency in mumbai

  • Anand @ Maharashtra - Nasik January 29, 2014 12:44 pm

    Very good article !!!
    I had such experience with TATA DOCOMO nearly 100 rs lost even after deactivating background data for Whatsup unlimited pack of Rs15.
    Firstly I have taken matter to CC, as usual they were helpless more over he transferred call to his senior who was too arrogant.

    Then I have written down matter to and their nodal officer that you are looting us by giving just 20MB for usage & that too not mentioned anywhere, neither on TVC nor on website.

    With this strong email, TD refunded my lost amount and I learnt a lesson not to use such any pack.

    Thanks for the article again so that other friends get timely advice for such ambiguous plans by Cellular operators.

    Pl don’t get trapped.

    • S.Sudhakar January 29, 2014 2:29 pm

      All operators are looting in some other way. So find a operator who loots less and change to it via MNP. Cool.

      • Zeeshan January 29, 2014 8:26 pm

        BSNL loots nothing
        But lacks for QoS

  • Vikas January 29, 2014 12:24 pm

    I tried Docomo Whatsapp plan on my Nokia X2-01. It worked succesfully coz they gave 20 MB normal data extra for misc connection charges. But in Higher end smartphones 20 MB is not enough for misc connections.

  • Manash Pati January 29, 2014 12:11 pm

    After activating these packs maintain main Balance Rs0 …so that no deduction will b possible& U can njoy the pack benefits without any deduction…

    • S.Sudhakar January 29, 2014 12:40 pm

      Operators are clever enough to add in negative balance and deduct a lump sum later or by making main balance zero even after recharging with topups several times !!!. What an idea sirji !!!. LOL LOL.

      • Srikapardhi January 29, 2014 12:51 pm

        With some operators, Internet doesn’t work if balance is 0. Reliance is an example for it.

        • abhishek chatterjee January 29, 2014 1:23 pm

          install GO TASK MANAGER EX app..
          Go to checks> start> boot apps.. now remove all boot apps expect whatsapp messenger..
          restart your Android phone..
          enjoy whatsapp unlimited pack benefits..

        • Darshan Malu January 29, 2014 8:30 pm

          Even with Vodafone…
          Min balance 1rs
          Vodafone sometimes activates caller tune with no reason for free for 1 month & we as usual do not know when its going to renew & the balance gets deducted…
          Once same happened i called cc they said its my mistake but i said its ok now deactivate the pack but thentoo the whole month my callers had to listen vodafone tune….

  • Najeeb January 29, 2014 11:05 am

    Had taken the Whatsapp plan of Reliance with my Nokia E51 phone. When I started losing money from my account, I contacted the customer care. The told every time the data connection gets interrupted and gets reconnected, a specific amount gets deducted from my account. Interruption was frequent.It became a nuisance and I changed the data plan and later ported out.

    • S.Sudhakar January 29, 2014 12:41 pm

      Cool man. MNP is there. Do not tell them that you are porting out. They may deny your request !!!.

  • Abhijit January 29, 2014 11:04 am

    Nice article to educate the users. These plans can never work flawlessly. Never use such packs as there is no good system available with Indian operators to track the usage for such kind of offers. If you think that balance is getting deducted using WhatsApp then check your data usage statistics available in Andriod phone or you can download such app from Google Play Store. This will help you to know which application is consuming data. If you are getting charged for using WhatsApp then raise a complaint with the screenshots.

  • S.Sudhakar January 29, 2014 10:00 am

    It is the customers’ fate to subscribe to these specific plans. Better subscribe to common data packs.

  • Prashoor January 29, 2014 10:00 am

    @Srikapardhi, I knew that these plans were offering delusions to customer. And blocking apps not to work on Internet is an hilarious excuse.

    Companies should bring internet packs where plans are transparent for social network usage, with limitations on data usage.

    And customer care giving excuses about no image /voice / video over these offers must know that text is also a data and goes through internet. So what to worry about, you gave us a internet plan, and these other data must also transmit.

  • alamgir January 29, 2014 9:57 am

    Wasn’t a victim now, but I lost more than Rs. 300/ to Airtel, during the period when the operators were upgrading their networks for MNP and 3G. So was aware that these kind of offers will be a goldmine, to loot the customers, for A-Vo-Id, Reliance and the Indo-Japanese Adventure turned misadventure Tata-Docomo. Never activated the service even they sounded tempting, but was aware of the fact that androids cant stay offline for all other apps and be online for one. Reality check: Google’s Android or Apple’s iOS is not DESIGNED to word according to dictatorship of Indian operators.

  • Khaleel January 29, 2014 9:45 am

    In my case:
    I have a broadband connection at my home. So I don’t need a data plan always.
    What I need is monthly data plans with lesser data benefits or daily plans. Say 5MB for 1 or 2 INR.
    I use BSNL. You need to pay 139 for 30 days validity data plan(1 GB). But I don’t use more than 300 MB of this 1 GB :(
    I mostly use DATA14 when i’m out of town.

  • Suvham January 29, 2014 4:16 am

    Thanks to TT for bringing this matter to public. I once activated url only data/Whatsapp pack on Reliance for using it on my droid (even after background data and auto sync restricted and only Whatsapp installed) after using Whatsapp for an hour, switching off the packet data option, ?20 had been deducted from my main balance. Same thing happened with Docomo. Honestly, these plans aren’t suitable for Android phones as once you enable packet data, application starts syncing data and therefore deducts balance from main account. These are useless, especially for Android phone owners. Don’t know what about other operating systems. What we want is cheaper data plan from operators and we are good to go.

    • S.Sudhakar January 29, 2014 10:02 am

      You know that operators suck money from the subscribers in different ways. Then why are you falling as prey to them and blaming the operators?. Subscribe to the common data pack and enjoy browsing anywhere in the internet.

      • Suvham January 29, 2014 12:41 pm

        I wasn’t aware that activating WhatsApp plan would deduct money. I learned after getting my balance deducted two times from two different operators. It’s the fault of the operating system which won’t allow only one app to use data at a time. So, if someone isn’t aware of about using these plans on Android would result in deduction of money from main balance then they would definitely blame the operators.