Forced Ads by Telecom Operators Irk Mobile Phone Users
Mobile users in Guwahati are facing a newfound irritation of "forced advertisements" while making their regular phone calls.
For almost the past one month now, different telecom operators have been playing recorded promotions about various offers whenever people try to make phone calls, much to the annoyance of the users.
Poor network connectivity and call drops have already been a persistent problem for many mobile users here in the city. Now, they say that these advertisements have made matters worse.
Telecom users irked by excessive ads at crucial times
Mobile users say that it can get extremely frustrating to have to be forced to listen to these telecom ads especially while making an emergency phone call.
“I was once trying to contact my family recently when one of our relatives was admitted in the hospital, but I had to continuously listen to these advertisements before finally getting to speak to them,” said Krishna Talukdar, a businessman and resident of Chandmari Colony.
These ads often play for up to 20 seconds before the person on the other side even gets to hear the ringtone.
Another troubled resident, Dilip Bora, said that he has already called the customer care department of his mobile operator company and has flagged the issue.
“There has been a sudden rise in these promotions over the past few weeks. I have even asked the customer care executives to block such kind of ads on my number with immediate effect as they create a lot of inconvenience,” said Bora.
He added that he has been assured by the customer care department that these advertisements would stop within the next 24 hours.
Another Guwahatian and homemaker, Kalyani Mazumdar of Noonmati, said that she has had to listen to these promotional ads even after being registered with the Do Not Disturb (DND) service from her service provider.
“Even when the number is busy on the other side, we get to know this only after the advertisement stops playing,” said Mazumdar. She added that such ads should not be forced by the telecom companies at least before a call, as time is of the essence in some situations when a person needs to reach someone as quickly as possible.
Surge in ads after Reliance’s shutdown plans
On the other hand, some have alleged that this is a tactic which is being used by the telecom companies after it surfaced that Reliance Communications (RCom) was shutting down its operations in Guwahati and Assam. These ads are attempts to lure as many Reliance customers towards the existing operators as possible.
Further, since many Reliance customers are considering mobile number portability (MNP) during this time, this is the perfect opportunity to increase the other operators’ customer base.
Recently, Reliance decided to terminate its services in Guwahati and Assam. This left as many as two lakh customers in Guwahati and 12 lakh customers in Assam, stranded. RCom will most likely shut its mobile services from the end of November, according to officials. Further, Reliance customers have also been facing network congestion for the past several weeks.
Ranjit Das from Aircel said that almost all telecom operators including Vodafone, Airtel and Aircel, have started planning aggressive promotional campaigns for the past one month.
“Since Reliance is considering completely shutting down its operations in Guwahati and rest of Assam, all the telecom operators are eyeing Reliance customers using these promotional methods,” he said adding that he is aware that it does get irritating for the mobile users but it is the company’s decision and they don’t have much say in this.
On the other hand, Public Relations Officer of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), Giriraj Roy Choudhury, said that BSNL has not been playing any such advertisements currently and does not plan to play them in the future as well.