Twitter was rife with tweets about an SMS that was supposedly sent by Airtel that demanded subscribers to send SMS at premium rate of Rs. 3 to remain private. The SMS read like this:
It was later confirmed authentic on twitter by Airtel Presence:
The Opportunistic Move
Now we understand that DOT has mandated telcos to publish subscriber information online. This is okay as BSNL has been publishing telephone directories for years now and with growing presence in the market it makes sense to have an Airtel directory. While it is unclear if DOT allows customers to stay private by sending an SMS to their respective operators, the move to charge premium rates for SMS is undoubtedly an opportunistic one from Airtel’s side being an industry leader. Even if DOT allows telcos to fix SMS charges, Airtel should have acted in good faith and allowed subscribers to stay private at a nominal cost or ideally through a free SMS.
With Airtel having a few crore subscribers, they easily stand to make a windfall gain here. Above all the question is when the matter is related to landline subscribers why not an IVR or email or a visit to Airtel office, why only an SMS? In the case of good old BSNL, one can get anything done by submitting a letter at their office!
We sincerely hope that Airtel revises this opportunistic move and allows other means of delisting. What do you think about Airtel’s move? Let us know.