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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

3G Hiccups

Walk into any mobile service provider's showroom and what you will see are the letters 3G everywhere. You will also be invited to see demos of ‘blazing' speeds. It is only when you go for a 3G connection that you start wondering whether you are just a guinea pig for the service provider.
Many of those who went for 3G services during the demo period got the advertised speeds. Only when the services went paid did the problems start.
One customer who suddenly found the speed drop to 30 kbps from over 3 Mbps was told to ‘enable 3G' again by sending an SMS ‘3G'. When he sent the SMS, he got the reply ‘3G services already enabled'. When he tried to recharge his account with a 3G pack, he was informed that the 2G Internet services were already on, and that he would have to disable it. He was told to send a ‘stop' request, which he promptly did and got a reply that the Internet services had been stopped. When he tried to recharge again, he got the message that the 3G pack could not be activated as he had over 2000 MB of data left in his account. To get the 3G services, he had to bring the unused data to below 50 MB. The ‘helpful' customer care lady asked him to keep downloading continuously so that the data came down below 50 MB. It would take weeks, the customer pleaded. There is no other alternative, was the reply from the customer care. The customer got fed up, threw away his card and got a new 3G enabled connection.
Another customer (with another operator) who got only 2G speeds was billed for 3G services. The 3G connectivity was also scrappy. The call centre was clueless about what she was being billed — for 3G or 2G. She got fed up and went back to 2G; at least the speed was consistent. When she tried to deactivate 3G, she got a message that 3G services were not active in her number. A call to the customer service department confirmed that 3G services were in fact, active.
Another operator attracts customers by advertising speeds of 7.2 MBPS. When a potential customer wanted to test the speed at the operator's demo zone, he was informed that the services were still not ‘stable' and that he would get speeds of only around 3 MBPS. The speed test revealed the real speed — it never crossed 2.2 MBPS!
This is the case with CDMA operators too. One operator who advertises 3G speeds in its USB modem had this excuse when the customer complained he was getting only around 1 MBPS against the advertised 3.1 MBPS. The customer service was surprised. “What? You get 1 MBPS? If you get speeds above 500 kbps, according to us, you are getting above average speeds.”
So, if you are ‘excited' about 3G, it's better to wait till the operators get a hang of their services! source

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