Some arm-twisting will get you a plan that's actually worth paying for
Everyday, more and more people realize the benefit of having an Internet-connected mobile phone. And with 3G just upon the brink of its pan-India launch by most operators, it's only going to get better. A couple of years ago, activating GPRS on your phone used to be an expensive affair, but that has improved too with most operators giving a decent number of MBs (for some, even GBs) of data to use per month, that too at a fair price.
But amidst all this good news, Vodafone has been that sour grape that still has uncompetitive data plans off the lot. They have two choices: Vodafone Live! and Vodafone Mobile Connect. The first one lets you browse only mobile websites and usage of 3rd party apps (like Nimbuzz or Google Maps) is disappointingly not guaranteed to work (we confirmed with a Vodafone helpline operator). The second option lets you use 3rd party apps as well as share your mobile Internet connection with your PC. But the minimum commitment is Rs. 299 per month for 2GB of usage.
Feel like you're paying through your nose? Want something cheaper? Here's a trick that Techtree reader Pranay from Hyderabad suggested to get even: SMS PORT Your Mobile Number to 1900. You will instantly get a unique Number Portability code.
Now, Vodafone supposedly gets alerted of your possible flight risk to another operator. Their representative should call you up, asking you why you want to switch. You tell him that their GPRS plans are too expensive and other operators are offering cheaper plans (not a lie, by the way). They'll offer you a Rs. 99 per month plan for 2GB of data. This is the same plan for which they would otherwise charge Rs. 299 when we last checked. A saving of Rs. 200 per month, straight up!
An acquaintance of mine also confirmed to get a call from them the same day he sent that Number Portability SMS, so this isn't some Internet rumor doing its rounds.
Using an iPhone on Vodafone? I can feel your pain, as you're suffering even worse. Vodafone apparently has separate iData plans that you compulsorily use with an iPhone. And the plans are pathetic -- Rs. 200 for a measly 100MB, Rs. 500 for 250MB and Rs. 600 for 600MB. And if you've officially purchased an iPhone via the Vodafone store, your phone does not have any settings to change the APN -- a setting that all other GPRS enabled phones use to authenticate themselves to the service.
Here's a possible workaround -- there s a website that lets you edit the hidden APN settings, http://www.unlockit.co.nz. Access it from the Safari browser on the phone itself. It works on locked and non-jailbroken iPhones too, so you need not worry voiding your warranty (as mentioned in the website's FAQ). Subscribe for a typical Vodafone Mobile Connect plan (don't tell the rep you have an iPhone), and enter these APN settings manually. We re still in the process of trying this out ourselves, but theoretically it should work. Let us know if you do it before us.
So, finally the successful Mobile Number Portability deployment is indeed benefiting the customer now, isn't it? If this works for you, spread the love by clicking on the Facebook Recommend button below!