MNP Journal : Moving from Airtel to Idea

After a long relation with Airtel, it’s finally time to move out to a new operator and I’m moving to Idea Cellular. I’m currently a post paid customer in Airtel and will be taking a post paid plan in Idea.

Whats the reason? There is a serious signal issue with Airtel at the place where I spend most part of my life. Every single call, drops. This is not a remote place, this is happening at a prime location, at the centre of Hyderabad. I hardly have any call without a drop. Though airtel is my primary number, I’m using a second BSNL number currently to make and receive calls. I do not want to use multiple numbers, so decided to move to Idea with the same number.

I’m a customer of Airtel since 1998. It was JTM(JT Mobile) initially which was later taken over by Airtel. The experince with Airtel has always been good. I was always fully satisfied except for some very minor things. Airtel even gave me unlimited GPRS for Rs.199/- which I can use both on phone and pc.

The signal issue started since 2008 when I moved to this new place. It works fine every where else, even 25 yards away from this place. Multiple complaints and mails yielded nothing more than “Feedback Calls” and “Problem Resolved SMSs”. I even removed the GPRS facility as it is no more of use. My Airtel bill reduced from around Rs.1000 to Rs.100, that should speak for itself. Finally sent a mail to Airtel in the last week of Sep 2011 stating the problem, duration and all. I even said “I’ll have no option but to move out if you do not resolve atleast now”. The response again was routine blah blah.

Why Idea? We currently have Airtel, Idea and BSNL connections at home. While there is a serious signal issue with Airtel at my location, both Idea and BSNL have no such issues. I have no idea of the coverage by other operators, so preferred switched to Idea or BSNL as we are already using them. Having experienced the so called customer support of BSNL before, it is ruled out. Zeroed on the Idea.

I’m moving out of Airtel only because of the signal issue in my location and there is no other reason. Moving to Idea is only because it is good in my location. Though I’m moving out of Airtel, I still rate Airtel as the best. Every operator has some weak signal spots and unfortunately it is my location for Airtel. It works just fine 25 yards away from my place. I have used Idea, BSNL, Hutch and Airtel so far and Airtel always has been the best even when their rates were a little higher than others. Since Idea coverage is better at my location, I’m moving to it.

Which Plan? Idea Champion 299 which gives 600 local minutes, 600 local and national sms and 1GB GPRS. After the free calls, I’ll be charged 20paise for calls to idea, 30paise to other mobiles and 50 paise for landline and all std calls. The plans suits me perfectly.

MNP Procedure

Below are the steps for moving from one operator to another.

  1. Send “PORT Mobile#” to 1900. i.e., PORT followed by a space followed by 10 digit mobile number to 1900. This will be charged at Rs.1/- as told. PORT should be in caps. You will receive a UPC code as a reply message.
  2. Goto the new operator, fill out the Customer Application Form(CAF), Porting request form. Submit these along with the address proof, ID proof, and a passport photo.
  3. Pay the required amount and take the new sim card.
  4. Porting will be completed in 7 working days, as told by Idea. When the porting is done, my number will not work for one night, when this happens the new sim starts working from the next day. There will be no interruption during office hours.
  5. Address verification will be done after the porting is complete, as told by Idea.

If your current number is postpaid, make sure you attach the bill paid receipt and also carry a copy of previous bill just in case they ask. If yours is a prepaid, you will loose any balance you already have.

The customer name should be same for old and new operators, i.e., if your current number is on your fathers name, you should apply to new operator on the same name. Do not try to submit the form with a new name hoping you can transfer to your name this way. This is not possible.

Journal : Switching from Airtel Postpaid to Idea Postpaid.

First week of Oct

Went to the Ideas main office at KLK estate at Hyderabad to find out what all are required to make sure no issues arise later. After waiting for around 45 minutes to get my turn, the gentleman said
1. Porting Code
2. ID Proof – signed
3. Address Proof – signed
4. One passport photo
5. Signed forms that he handed over to me(Number porting request form,Customer Application Form,Plan detail sheet)
6. Rs.300/- needs to be paid while submitting the application(It says Rs.500 in idea website for the plan I opted)
The porting will be completed in 7 working days

18 Oct 2011
11:00 AM : Paid Rs.100/- to Airtel to clear my pending bill which was Rs.60/-. Paid a bit more than the actual bill amount so that it will cover any charges I may incur before porting.

19 Oct 2011
10:22 AM : Sent PORT… message to 1900 after confirming online that the Rs.100/- paid is reflected in the account.
10:23 AM : Unique Porting ID received from 1901, validity of the code is till the 03 Nov 2011.
02:50 PM : Call from 43306999 which I missed. This is a call from Airtel which I realised next day when there was a call again from the same number. This means they called me in less than 5 hours of sending the porting request SMS. They were never so prompt/quick when we need them or when we complain. Look at their speed when a customer is moving out.

20 Oct 2011
9:50 AM : Went to Idea cellular with all the stuff the guy has listed when I last visited. I was at the counter after a 10 minute wait. Now they want bill paid receipt and copy of the previous bill. Both these were not told during my last visit. I luckily had the receipt but not the bill copy. So I will have to come again. Another point is that the deposit is Rs.500/- and not Rs.300/- as the guy said before.
Look at the kind of information a customer service guy gave on a visit to Idea Cellular head office in Hyderabad. If this is the kind of information they give in their main branches on personal visits, what kind of information can we expect else where.
I will have to come again, take a number and wait for my turn again. Luckily the lady at the desk asked me to come directly to that counter without any token number.
10:12 AM : Call from 43306999, Airtel. They called to find out the reason why I’m moving out. After explaining the reason, the guy wants to take a complaint and wants me not to move out. He asks me for one last chance. After facing the problem for more than 3 years without any response from the customer service, I was pretty sure this is going to be a time waste. I clearly told him that I’ve decided to move out and there is no question of waiting, whether a complain is raised or rectified is no more of interest to me.
After unsuccesfully trying to convince me for 10 minutes, he finally ended the call politely.
10:20 AM : Visited Airtel office which is very near to get a duplicate bill. They do not provide a duplicate bill.
11:30 AM : Reached the Idea office with a print of the bill from Airtel online account. Had to wait at the counter for 5 minutes as the lady was attending another customer. In next 5 minutes my application and Rs.500 deposit was taken and I was given a new sim card.
I was informed that the porting will be complete in 7 working days and when the porting is being done, my number will not work for one night. After porting is done, address verification will be done. For address verification, someone will visit. Even If I’m not at home, it is sufficient if someone at home tells that I reside there(as told).
Question in Mind – Verification after porting? What if it fails? I’m out of Airtel after porting, and out of Idea as they could not verify my address. 🙂

CAF is in duplicate which was given to me as acknowledgement. I have already taken xerox of other docs for my record.

21 Oct 2011
01:37 PM : Call from 66652000, Idea Cellular, asking for address land marks and an alternate number. I did not understand why they could not ask these when I gave the application. I gave the details now.
02:10 PM : SMS from 121, Airtel, “Thank you for contacting Airtel through SMS. Your Service Request number is xxxxxxx. You will receive a confirmation message once your request is processed”.
I did not actually contact Airtel. The above message may be part of the porting process or the Airtel support might have raised a complain themselves after unsuccessfully trying to convince me to continue with Airtel.

22 Oct 2011
12:49 PM : Call from 43306999, Airtel, asking again for feedback, more details about my complaint etc etc. This guy did not ask me to wait or continue with Airtel. He said that the complaint is taken seriously and now higher officials are looking at the complaint. He asked me whether I’ll come back If the problem is rectified in the future to which I’m always ready. My experience with Airtel is better than with any other provider.

27 Oct 2011

11:40PM : Called my mobile from my other mobile(which I’ve been doing every night/early morning as they said port will be done at night) and my phone displays the caller id as “Private No”. Tried with other mobiles at home and all of them are displayed as “Private No”. When I call other numbers from these mobiles, the caller id is displayed normally. May be the porting process is going on and this may be an intermediate stage.

11:45 PM : The new Idea sim card still shows “Sim card registration failed” on switching on the phone. 7 days completed(not working days though), hope the process will be completed in a day.

28 Oct 2011

12:47 AM : Both sim cards fail to register, “Sim card registration failed” is displayed. On dialing the number, I got the voice “This number does not exist, please check the number you have dialed”. Now I’m sure the porting is in process. I should be on Idea network by morning.

01:06 AM : Idea Sim successfully registered to network. Hurray, I’m finally on Idea. Oh no, not completely. Outgoing is working. Incoming from Idea numbers is fine, but from bsnl and airtel(and probably from other networks too) says the number does not exist. I think it takes some time to propogate. All should be well by morning. Incoming SMS is not working too and I did not try outgoing SMS.

07:25 AM : Still the same. Incoming from Idea is fine, but calls from other networks get the message “Number does not exist”.

08:01 AM : Everything seems to be working now. I’m able to get calls from Idea, BSNL and Airtel(these are all I have to check). Incoming and outgoing messages to these networks work just as fine. I think porting is now complete except GPRS which is still not working.

Being able to make and receive calls is not an achievement, but Airtel for past few years without a single complete call makes me feel so, :-). Feels good being able to have long calls. No more missed calls and dropped calls.

08:31 AM : Called Idea IVR. My current credit limit is Rs.500/-, funny.Rs.500/- is what I paid as deposit. My Airtel credit limit was Rs.3600/- at the time of porting request. The porting request form also has a field for the current(at the time of porting) credit limit which I filled as Rs.3600/-. The airtel bill I submitted to Idea confirms that too. I thought this field was part of the porting form so as to provide a considerable credit limit to port-in customer. I was sure it will be less than Rs.3600/- but did not expect Rs.500/-. While this should be normally sufficient for me(unless I make any ISD calls), having a credit limit of just Rs.500/- doesn’t feel good.

03 Nov 2011

An agent visited the home for address verification. Just asked if I stay there or not, nothing much.

05 Nov 2011

Noticed the increase in credit limit to Rs.3600 in my account. Probably increased after the verification is done.

1st Week of Dec 2011

Airtel has sent the deposit refund cheque including the excess amount I paid towards the pending bill before requesting porting. I did not apply/follow up/expect this refund so soon. Airtel has promptly closed the account and sent the refund.


GPRS was not working on first day, i.e., 28th. It started working from 29th evening.

I’m unable to access my account online. On day 1 I tried to register it threw a message “error, try again later…”. After that it started the message “you already have account…” and when I try to use forgot password it says “you will receive password SMS shortly…” which did not happen. On calling customer care they informed that I can only do that after the first bill is paid. Out of enthusiasm I tried again on 4th Nov and I got the password SMS and I could access the account online. Customer support again gave wrong information that first bill needs to be generated to access account online. I was probably not able to access because my connection is new and needed some time for the servers to update.

Customer support also informed that I have to login in business/corporate account section. Mine is a normal individual application, and I do not know why they categorized me as that. Customer care said they are categorized based on grade, I did not understand and the answer was not convincing, but may be Idea categorizes MNP customer accounts as business accounts.

I have made less than 10  outgoing calls(minutes), less than 10 sms, and around 1mb data for testing. I have 600 calls, 600 sms and 1gb data free in plan, but my unbilled amount is already around Rs.30/-. On calling customer care, they said that all my calls and sms will be counted for unbilled amount calculation, all those will be deducted at the time of generating the bill. Questions is what happens when this unbilled amount reaches the tiny Rs.500 credit limit given to me. At the current rates, my unbilled amount may reach Rs.500 with just around 50 calls and 100mb data. Customer care said that my credit limit will automatically increase and the connection will not be disconnected, this is to be seen.

Even after the porting and moving to Idea, I got the message “Your missed call alert service will be renewed in 3 days…”. This is expected. There may be more such things for few more weeks till all the airtel servers reflect the port out. After 3 days I got a message that its been renewed, :). Is airtel going to send me a bill for this?

Two or Three days after the increase of the credit limit from Rs.500 to Rs.3600, the limit is again increased to Rs.5500.

Posted in Drop Box, Mobiles, Reviews
  • Yusuf

    I have reached stage 3 – Airtel network gone…Idea shows “Emergency Calls Only{“…I guess I have to wait for a day for Idea network to be active 🙂

    • vishki

      I think you will have everything working by 9am. They said I can not make/receive calls for one night and it was like that. It stopped working at night and by next morning I was completely on Idea, except for GPRS which took one more day.

  • Yusuf

    Thanks for this…even I am moving from Airtel to Idea…..So now I know what exactly I will have to go through 🙂

    • vishki

      Cool, go ahead, I did not face any problems. Just make sure you pay more than your pending bills to cover even the calls that you made after the billing date. Then decide what you want to say when the customer care calls. One of my friends was given a good plan offer(which was not available normally) when he stated that he is moving out cos other operator plans are cheaper. He accepted the offer and continued with his current operator. So expect this kind of stuff and decide what you want, and communicate that clearly to them.

      Last week, Airtel has sent me the cheque for the deposit amount, plus the excess amount I paid. Very prompt. I did not apply, did not follow up and did not expect the refund too as it was Rs.300 only and I did not want to spend precious time on that. But Airtel promptly sent the refund, thats why I always liked Airtel.