Wrong Number?

I have changed cities twice in the last three years and as you’d imagine, it is quite a nightmare keeping in touch with friends, colleagues (ex and current) and at times even family. Thankfully, my moves were restricted to the small 200km Mumbai-Pune area. But still, the problem persists.

Part of the problem is that Mumbai, despite being the capital of Maharashtra is not part of the same cellular circle. So when you go from Pune to Mumbai, you are on ‘roaming’. Nagpur, or for that matter Goa, which is a good 800km+ away, is still a local call. While all that changed a few months ago, there are still problems with it. Receiving a call in Mumbai on a Maharashtra number costs nothing (unless you are on Airtel in the roaming circle) and vice-versa but making a call is about 2.5x the cost of a local call within your circle.

So using such a roaming phone for mundane activities as keeping in touch or ordering food (hey, I just moved!) is insane. So sooner or later, I have to switch over to a local network. Fair enough. But this means the number changes (in my case, that’s twice in two years… suicidal in the media industry). And you go through the entire routine of SMSing your new number to your entire address book (note: the advantage is that you can choose not to notify people you don’t want to!). And then there will always be the bank and the credit card companies who take eons to update personal info.

In fact, a credit card company and my bank asked me to submit a letter in writing to the ‘branch’ for a change of personal information. In the age of the Internet? Oh well.

Now, the TRAI (Telephone Regulatory Authority of India) has decided that for a mere Rs 200, you can retain your number. The catch is, I am not sure if this can be done outside your existing circle. So if I move back to Pune (aargh, moving), I am not sure if I can retain my number. Which would bring us back to Do Re Mi!

The above notification also states that the subscriber needs to pay the amount to the new provider he chooses. What about the old one? A heartless break-up? What steps are there to ensure a smooth transition? How do I know that my old service provider will not play dirty? I guess this, like most other things, would evolve based on people’s experiences. (Any volunteers?)

I can only imagine what havoc it would play with the identification of areas based on cell numbers. There was a time when it was clear: 982x or 982x was a Mumbai number; 983x was Kolkata or thereabouts; 981x were Delhi; 984x was Hyderabad, Bangalore… the Southern states. Now there’s no way to figure that out. In fact, with the mobile subscriptions going through the roof, there is already no way to find this out what with Mumbai having 981x numbers.

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  1. TRAI. Aah they work? I thought they were just some peepz whol got paid for sleepin 😛

  2. Heh! They do seem to be doing something resembling work!




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