My 6 months user review of TataDocomo GSM, GPRS and Customer care

I have no doubt that when some of you read this title, said Wow! How can someone have the patience of keeping the SIM of TataDocomo for 6 months! Well, it has not been an easily journey sure, but there are a lot of things with my TataDocomo connection that are worth it. I was thinking of writing this review since a long time but today an interaction with a TataDocomo executive pushed me to do so. Let's begin then!


TataDocomo for cheaper calls

The first question which I would like to answer is why I like using TataDocomo and why I am going to keep using it in the near future. The simple reason is that it has dirt cheap rates compared to that of Vodafone, Airtel or Idea. I won't be commenting on other service providers because I haven't used them but considering majority of people use these 3 providers only I think it is safe to mention these only for comparison purposes. Coming back, the rates for every service that TataDocomo offers are very less compared to the 3 peers mentioned above. I specifically love the talktime recharge for 1 month where I get 300 minutes worth of local and STD minutes for just Rs.130. The best part being that the call are deducted based on seconds which means I don't have to think twice before making a call. Since these 6 months not once I have been able to finish my talktime any individual month. Of course, I am sure there are many people who like to talk much more than this but hey, I think this plan can reduce you monthly bill to quite a big extent! There are plans for even greater talktime, you just need to go and take a look.

However, the problem is network connectivity. It is like in around 40% of the places you go, the network of TataDocomo is very poor. Sometimes it is no signal and many other times you don't have proper reception from your side during a call. I have however found good places in my home as well as my office where the reception is always good and that makes sure that I can have long calls with my family and friends. It is just a matter of finding those sweet spots where network connectivity is good. This means two things- one is that you save specially on long calls when you can make sure that you go to that sweet spot for the call and the second thing is that if you plan on having a TataDocomo number then make sure you also have a SIM from Airtel, Vodafone or Idea for important incoming calls so that you don't miss out on those due to the poor reception in TataDocomo. This is what I do too, I have another SIM from Vodafone whose number I give out to everyone to call me so that people don't find it irritating to call me :P I don't even remember my TataDocomo number because I know that it is good only in those 'sweet spots' and it makes sense only to make outgoing calls with it considering that I have to first go to that sweet spot to engage in a call.

I personally think that it makes huge sense to have a TataDocomo SIM for outgoing calls. Since these 6 months I didn't have to spend an extra penny on my mobile recharge except that Rs.130 that I do once every month. Whereas my roommate who uses a Vodafone SIM has to spend around Rs.300 monthly just for talktime recharge. And due this steep charge he has to think every time he makes a call; a tension I don't even have to think about!

Pathetic Internet connectivity

I know that most of you reading this get a data pack which costs about Rs.250 monthly, right? Well, I don't like being connected all time. I just don't like the idea of Google and other apps on my phone tracking my movements with data packets I myself paid for. I have a very good WiFi connection at home and similarly I can access my email on my company PC.  This is why I don't get a data pack in spite of having a smartphone. But sometimes I feel the need of being connected like when I want to check the PNR status of my train or Google Maps to check my destination path or just to connect to a person I am going to meet. In such cases I have tried using TataDocomo's data pack and every time I have been irritated and disappointed. In most of the places TataDocomo doesn't even have a 2G connectivity leave alone 3G. Though the data packs are again dirt cheap like Rs.39 for 300 MB worth of data for a whole week.


Yesterday only I had to catch a train from Dadar, Mumbai which I had booked using the Tatkal reservation system. I had got a waiting list booking. So, I installed an app and stored my PNR in it. I live in Airoli, Mumbai and after going out of the range of WiFi I was not able to update the PNR status even once! I want from Airoli to Thane, Thane to Dadar but alas, my data connection from TataDocomo was unable to update the status in the app neither was it able to open the official page of Indian Railways from where I could check the PNR status. Anyhow, I did not Waitlist ticket didn't get upgraded so I was not able to go. Finally, during my return journey when I was at once station before Thane did my data connection finally woke up and I was able to open the Railways website and after than even the IRCTC website opened using this data pack.

Before this incidence too I have tried the 2G pack of TataDocomo to use Google Maps but I was disappointed even then. If I compare this with the data connection of Vodafone then the best way to make this comparison is probably not to make it! Vodafone is much ahead in its service of 3G or even 2G packs. Though they are costly but they at least work. You can trust them in time of need.

All in all, if your primary requirement in data connectivity then TataDocomo is not for you at all.

Customer service 

I have Facebook friends on a blogger group who have narrated very bad experience with the customer support of TataDocomo. Even online reviews such as much that TataDocomo has a very poor customer support. Till today I never had the chance to use contact the customer support except for the 1st time when I had to verify my credentials to get the SIM active. However, today I recharged my TataDocomo number with Rs.110 expecting full talktime as was mentioned in the official TataDocomo page. However, after processing the recharge I got the message that I have been credited only with Rs.97.9. I immediately searched for the customer service on TataDocomo's official website and I found the option to Online Support. I filled in my problem in the box provider and on clicking on the Submit button I was greeted with a chat screen. I narrated my problem to the executive and surprisingly he told me that  as I had used a third party site to do a recharge, they cannot take responsibility about the talktime credited to my account. This was surprising to me since I have been doing online recharge for 3 years now and this was the first time this has happened to me. Also, the issue to be highlighted here is that I got a message from TataDocomo that they have received an amount of Rs.110 for recharge. So, if in the end it is them who are receiving the full money and it is mentioned on their site that a recharge of so and so would give a talktime of so and so then why should not they take responsibility for the talktime? After all the third party is not withholding money of any sort. So, I asked the executive to kindly provide me the link of the page where it mentions that only recharging on the TataDocomo website will guarantee will the right talktime offer. The guy gives me a link where nowhere it mentioned as such. I again ask him to provide me the exact text so at least I know what I am looking for. Probably after himself looking for such text which actually was not there he gave in said that in "good will" he will credit the full talktime :) 

The matter of the story being that the service executive was just trying to wash off his hands by saying that they are not involved. If I had not pushed him to show me the text I would not have got my full talktime. But when I compare it with the executives of Vodafone, Airtel and BSNL whom I have interacted with, this guy was quite polite and tried to correct the wrong quite fast. Though he did not accept the mistake but I got the talktime within 5 minutes of the call which was quite cool. The overall feel I got of the customer service was that it was not at all bad. I am quite happy with the outcome and the service the guy provided. So, if I have to rate it out of 10 I would happily give it 8 marks.


Conclusion

Concluding this write up I am happy to recommend the service of TataDocomo to anyone who wants to reduce their phone bill and does have a little patience. If you are an avid talker you should definitely take advantage of these cheap prices till the time they don't actually increase it up to the levels of top mobile service providers.

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