Are Operators really providing that Freedom in Roaming?

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As already shared on TT pages,

All the operators started to provide OnNet Incoming free Roaming packs throughout India.In a dual tone let’s appreciate their favor done to those who are frequent travelers and to those who stay away from home zones for longer periods in different states on some work purpose.

With such stiff competition among all the operators trying to provide hassle free roaming services,are the Roaming Services provided by these operators really hassle free?I'll share my experiences and take on the roaming services provided by the operators in different scenarios citing some of my experiences.

Customer Voice

Let me speak about my first Roaming experience with Idea Cellular Services:

Scenario 1: VAS Deactivation

I was active on a DT service in my home location and went roaming in the middle of that month with the same service active. Everything went happy until I received a sms from IDEA intimating Your DT Service will be renewed in few days and amount 30(Monthly rent) + 15 (Song charges) will be deducted from your account. Then I started to tremble who on roaming will have DT service renewed and let me deactivate it first. The real mess started when I tried to call the Universal VAS Deactivation Number and I’m not able to connect to that number. Then I understood that these intelligent Networks don’t allow call establishments to any such numbers while roaming.

  • I tried to SMS the toll free number 12345 for any DEACT info but after sending 4 continuous sms and after checking my balance I realized that they are charging Rs.1.5/SMS for Toll free number also while on roaming(I'm on IDEA Network only). This is an example of REAL LOOTING from their customers even to its own Toll Free Numbers on Roaming.
  • Though I know I’ll get connected to the local support team I tried to call the same number 12345 and to my surprise even upon my request to speak in English the cc executive is speaking only in her regional language, I was fed-up after repeated requests to her to speak in English and disconnected the call.
  • Then I checked idea cellular website to DEACT DT via SMS and thought finally I got a solution and tried my luck to send a DEACT sms for which I got Sending failed error. Conclusion – You can’t send sms for any such numbers while on roaming.
  • As a last attempt I tried to make a chargeable roaming call to the Idea Customer care number of AP to request for DEACTIVATION. The scenario went like this
  1. For ROAMING ASSISTANCE press 6 and after that call got disconnected
  2. I tried again, this time no disconnection neither any response from IVR
  3. One more try -This time I got lucky enough and succeeded to get connected to a cc executive, I explained my situation and after making me wait for 15 min and keeping me on hold with some music playing in background there is no response from cc side and after some time I disconnected the call
  4. My Last try on call – The response from cc is that DEACTIVATION can’t be done from their side and I need to send a sms from my number for deactivation. I was fed-up already with response as I wasted 30 rupees for cc sms/calls and started to maintain a balance below 10 rupees. Guess what happened now? The VAS Service charges started deduction on daily basis.
  5. Finally I decided this is not fair and I emailed the CC team explaining my problem with VAS on Roaming and thanks to that person who took response to my mail has finally deactivated the DT services.

Conclusion: That what I learnt from this is Check for any Active VAS services and Deactivate them before you go ROAMING.

Scenario 2: Prepaid to Postpaid Conversion – Idea Cellular

As the name suggests, this time I made a request for conversion of my prepaid number to post pay when I was in my home location and need to immediately move to a different location on work.

Idea Showroom executive informed me it will take 7 working days for conversion , though I’m aware this activation is not going to work because I’ll be on roaming at that time, I again made a confirmation with cc that I’ll be on roaming and will the activation takes place? He nodded with a yes. I smiled and left the place. As expected after 7 days my prepaid SIM stopped working and when I inserted my new SIM it has no access to Network at all. After lots of calls to customer care team these are the responses I got each time I called

Response 1: You need to call Verification Number according to the TRAI rules to get your number active

Response 2: You will have access to Network and Incoming calls but outgoing calls are barred

Response 3: This time I requested them to connect to Tele verification team so that I can verify my details and they can activate my number. CC Response: Sorry this can’t be done from our side and we have no access to that team. You need to have access to home Network to get your number activated by calling the verification number.

It took my 15 days to get the problem solved with the intervention of Shivanjali Singh from Idea Cellular and I’m really thankful to her.

Whatever the case is in the above two scenarios, my problems got solved only after a lot of struggle where everything is related in providing proper Roaming Services.

Common Roaming Problems Faced in general:

  • Reduced functionality of General Toll free Customer care Numbers while on roaming.
  • All other Operator Service ACT/DEACT numbers also get disabled on Roaming.
  • Many services can’t be activated or Deactivated on Roaming.
  • Some Operators are charging even for sms to their own Toll Free Numbers.
  • Even the Customer care Numbers are charged as a Roaming call.

Some Suggestions for Operators in providing hassle free Roaming services:

  • Redirect all calls made to normal Customer care numbers like 121/111/*333 while roaming to the respective customer’s home location Customer Care in spite of Customer Care of Roaming Location or make the entire Customer database available to the Customer Cares of all locations so that they can also assist the Customers on roaming.
  • As different states may have different ACT/DEACT codes, first of all allow sending of sms to those numbers by redirecting these sms to their respective home zone locations so that any service requests Activation/Deactivation requests can be processed by the user even on roaming .
  • Remove home only restrictions on numbers especially  like Tele verification, Porting or any user verification , activation or deactivation process numbers, so that when any user takes a new number just before roaming or on some purpose the same can be verified and activated even on roaming.

In my experience I found TATA DOCOMO (I'm really happy with the roaming experience of  TATA DOCOMO) providing access to good number of home location Toll free numbers even on roaming for free followed by Airtel, Aircel, and Vodafone(Vodafone is charging even for its 121 and 144  numbers on roaming).

The same trend of disabling normal functionality of  special numbers , activation's or any normal home location toll free numbers is followed by all the operators including BSNL. BSNL also intimates it's users that they will be charged for calling customer care on roaming as soon as users reach a new roaming location.

Have you anytime faced these kind of problems on roaming? If so which Network and what is the problem and how did it got rectified? Feel free to share your experiences with other readers via comments.

Reported By

Telecom Analyst

Passionately following the Indian #Telecom Industry for over a decade from Business, Consumer and a Technical perspective. My primary focus area is Consumer & Digital Experience.

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