The two important and expensive additions to the household budget of this generation have been the Mobile and Internet bills. You may not realize how much you spend on these utilities (yes – they are no longer luxuries – but utilities) but if you total up your bills at the end of each year, it will be a sizeable amount.
What I realized though earlier this year is that these telecom companies are one of the most ingenious organizations when it comes to fleecing money from their consumers. They are ever so quick to call you with their latest new scheme or an add-on card, but they will never call you if they have a scheme which can reduce your outgo.
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Eye Opener 1 – The same unlimited plan was now costing 1100 per month but I was still getting charged 1300 – so there was a daylight robbery of Rs 200 each month. This is what you get for being a loyal customer. They will pass on the rate increases but never rate decreases. When I spoke to customer care and asked them why they didn’t inform me or offer me new tariffs, they simply said- all tariff plans are posted on their website for consumers.
This discovery got me very annoyed and then I decided to dig deeper into my bills. For the first time in 3 years I really looked at my usage and what did I realize?
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Eye Opener 2 – In the last 3 years I had crossed 2 GB of monthly usage only once. So how much did a 2 GB plan cost? – Rs 750 only. If you subscribed for an e-bill instead of a paper bill, you saved another Rs 25 each month. After adding taxes, the bill came to Rs. 800. A straight savings of Rs. 600 per month or Rs. 7200 annually.
Having gone through this experience, I then decided to look at my telephone bills. I was consistently paying between Rs 2000 to 3000 each month. I was in for more surprises here.
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I have been using GPRS on my cell phone almost ever since the telecom companies started offering it. Again I don’t remember when I had last reviewed what I was paying for. I did now and I was in for another eye opener.
Eye Opener 3 – I was paying Rs. 500 for a GPRS plan which gave me 500 MB free usage each month. I went over to the Vodafone website to check out the current tariffs. They were now offering 2 GB usage for only Rs. 299. For all these years of picking up those unwanted calls from Vodafone for caller tunes and additional sim cards – never once did I receive a delightful call from Vodafone telling me that I was paying too much for GPRS. I immediately switched to the 299 plan. Another Rs 200 savings per month (Rs 2400 annually).
But the fun didn’t end there. I was speaking to a friend who told me that one of his friends who was also a Vodafone customer was only paying Rs. 99 for 2GB. I was flabbergasted. Another phone call to this friend revealed his master trick. Time for the next eye opener
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Eye Opener 4 – The friend told Vodafone that most other companies (mainly their chief rival –Airtel) was offering 2 GB at only Rs 99 – so why should he pay 299? When they did not budge, he said those magic words – Mobile Number Portability. Within a short period, his case was sent for special approval and he then got a lower rate. Wow! I decided to give it a shot too – but I was in for a fight. This time actually it didn’t work out too easily. I had two unsuccessful attempts at threatening portability. I then decided to put my money where my mouth was. I sent the portability sms giving a notice for switching providers. Within an hour I received a call asking me why I wanted to switch. I had to negotiate hard. They didn’t give me 2 GB for 99 –but they did give me 1 GB for the same amount. I took that offer, since my phone usage didn’t really cross 1 GB.
So I had gone from paying 500 to only 100 – a further savings of 400 per month (4800 annually).
But did this stop here. No – There was more.
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Eye Opener 5 – My talk plan too was old and rusty. I had a 399 plan –where I think I had about 399 minutes free. The new 399 plan gave me 800 minutes free. I also got an unexpected bonus for switching tariff plans. I had been paying Caller Id charges of Rs 75 each month. I learnt that all new plans from Vodafone had stopped charging this amount. I was also paying Rs 75 each month for itemized billing. The new rates were Rs. 50 only. So for 5 minutes of effort it took to change my tariff plan – I was now enjoying double the talk time and ended up saving another 100 rupees per month (1200 annually). My cell phone bills went down by another Rs 500 approx. I also did this for my wife’s connection.
I was now saving almost 20000 each year in these payments for taking a couple of hours to talk to these two services providers and taking a quick look at my usage levels.
Don’t let these telecom companies fleece you of your hard earned money and spend 5 minutes on these company websites every 6 months. You never know what their next best offer is. They are not going to tell you about it. You have to find out for yourself.
You may end up saving more or less than this amount depending on your current usage and service provider but it is sure worth spending a few hours looking at these bills.
Do you know: If you invest Rs 500 per month for 20 years at the rate of 12% – your investment corpus will be Rs 5 Lakh at the end of period. So my yearly savings of Rs 20000 can add Rs 15 Lakh to my retirement corpus. 🙂 Must share your saving tips in comment section.
This is a guest post by Lloyd Pinto – he is our Financial Planning Client from Mumbai. He is Specialist in International Taxation & works for a multinational accounting firm. The views expressed herein are the author’s personal views.
Eye Opener 6 : We read this article and going to apply it 🙂
I am waiting to know how much you saved 😉
Thanks for providing this eye-opener to your readers.
Over a year back working on a similar pattern I got my office/home/cell tariff changed. In order to save a little more I even used MNP and changed service provider. This exercise resulted in a saving of over Rs 6000 per month on my telecom bills.
Simultaneously I started a monthly SIP of equal amount i.e. Rs 6000, because saving will truly reward you when you invest it.
Rs 6000 a month is huge 🙂
Yes. obviously I am happy. Here’s how I achieved that:
My major telecom expenses was on a high speed leased ISDN line for our live market feed/trading platform. The speed was important/mandatory for realtime tick-by-tick market data. The minimum monthly committment was Rs 3900. Then I stumbled upon Airtel dedicated broadband that was offering the same speed at a monthly cost of only Rs 600. Being cautious I used it for a month and found good so surrendered my ISDN line.
As I got a telephone line with it, I also surrendered one landline saving Rs 300 pm
Changed internet MTNL voice/data plan for office from Rs 1250 to Rs 495 pm and home plan to Rs 250 pm.
Changed wife’s plan under CUG with an avg saving of Rs 150 pm.
I ported out of Reliance CDMA to Idea GSM where I got GPRS free upto 512MB that was enough for my needs. Again I saved Rs 450 that I as paying for data plan under CDMA. (CDMA data plans are expensive)
I switched cable connections at home & office to a local cable operator who gave me 2 connections at monthly cost of Rs 500. Earlier I was paying 330 for each connection.
Took 3 new mobile connections for staff under corporate CUG plan where internal calling among members was free. This saved abt 300 pm.
Switched office/home electricity from Reliance to TataPower saving appx 250 on home & 650 office monthly power bills.
So simple yet so impressive. I did that with my broadband internet connection and found it very fruitful and similar to your expereince.
Thanks for sharing this.
Thanks for sharing.
really very good article. now a days the expenses on telecom is increasing more than more essentials as foods!
Rightly Said – price of communication is going down but bills are moving northward.
This is very good article. I started to apply upon me & my friendcircles.
like radhey i will say so simple yet so impressive. actually i am very much vigilant about these service providers. it will benefit many people, no doubt about that. now i will go through my providers (vodafone) different plans 6 monthly or earlier.thanx.
Great that you are vigilant. What about other expenses in your monthly budget – have you tried to work on them.
Excellent article Hemantji. This is an eye opener. My cellphone bills are not much but definitely I need to review my internet usage and bills. You are right on one count that they (mobile corporations) never tell you that you are over paying. This is a dirty world – there’s no honesty in consumerism.
Same happens with your banking system – we all know what happens with home loan customers & this also happens with automatic renewal FDs.
Normally indian customers forget the statement of MK Gandhi that “customer is god”. Even though indian companies have this in their rule book but they dont remember it until n unless you remind them. When you remind it, you will get whatever you want which is feasible and reasonable.
All the tips mentioned here are used by me since last few years and I’m always successful in that. Its just that when you are negotiating with them, you have to remember that YOU ARE GOD AND THEY ARE SERVING YOU.
I’ve used all these tips with all the service providers in India where I’m utilizing their services.
Another Tip: If you face problem with your mobile network (no signal, call breaking, etc…), you can get the rental waiver for that time period. All you have to do is use MNP or some other weapon in your GOD’s basket.
I do this and I make sure that I get the rental waiver for that period. Why should I pay them when their services are not worth of it?
Can you share more about rental waiver….
Sometimes I have problem with the network and when I complain about it normally that doesn’t get solved, then I escalate it and if it doesn’t get solved I go for disconnection or MNP. Then they will come up with offers such as monthly rental waiver or something else.
Nice article..I would like to share something with you all..
It is a good idea to stay on prepaid rather than postpaid, because you will be aware of your spending and no surprising bills at the end of the month..One can go for 2 SIM connections, one that has a call rate of 1- 0.5ps/second, and the other that has a call rate of 30-40ps/minute.. you can make crisp calls that last under a minute using the per paisa rate, and talk for hours on the per minute rate.. In fact, there are offers where calling costs are as low as 10ps/minute on the same network..Prepaid also comes out with aggressive offers and often they even let you know about it..
By the way, I am paying 98 bucks on 4gb of GPRS.. What an idea!
After MNP how you will know you are calling on which network. Be frank I have never used dual sim phone or even carried 2 different numbers.
It doesn’t really matter what network you are on.. What I am trying to emphasize here is that you can use one sim for making short duration calls (business/this plan should be a per second billing); another sim you can use for making long duration calls (family and dear ones/this plan should be per minute billing).
I don’t like mixing my work and family numbers so I prefer it this way. It is quite convenient to use a dual sim phone these days, atleast I dont have any problem. In the way explained above, I end up saving good amounts on my telephone bill as well.
You can label your SIMs on your phone. I keep mine as Work and Personal. It is very simple to choose which SIM you want to use when you are making a call. Hope you understood what I am trying to convey..
Yes, what is mentioned in the post is absolutely correct. I have also experienced it. During festivals like Diwali many telephone service providers come up with new schemes where they substantially reduce the tariffs. But these schemes are to attract new customers and the benefits of new schemes are never passed on to the existing customers.
In order to get these benefits existing customers have to get in touch with the sales executives who tell them the procedures to be followed to get the benefits.
It happens in service industry & which is rightly summed by Lloyd “This is what you get for being a loyal customer. They will pass on the rate increases but never rate decreases.”
So always remember “Caveat Emptor”.
Xlent eye opener for current generation guys…who spending more money these utilities.. story goes here .. i also …had 4gb tata photon plan for 750… after 8months i checked was i really using 4gb? then found i end up using only around 2gb ..so i swtiched to mobile vodafone 2gb 99rs internet, the is very easy n good money saving options.
same rocking points from Hemant.
Rs 650 savings – awesome 🙂
Very good article Hemantji,
Your commitment in spreading your knowledge for the benefit of others is commendable. Lord Almighty will repay you definitely…..
One way I have managed to keep my Internet usage bills low is by using MTNL’s 3G service.It costs me only Rs 495/- per month for Unlimited usage. The wireless router supplied by MTNL allows me to use my laptop, my wife & daughter to simultaneously log-on to the net via their PC or I-phone & still maintain decent speed.
I know some areas in metros are heavily congested(internet usage) & that is where the private telcos make their moolah but if one is lucky enough then MTNL is good bargain(my bro-in-law stays in a place where BSNL serves & he too is very happy).
End of the day we have to keep our eyes & ears open, pause+think and only then hand over our hard earned money or sign the dotted line for auto-debit.
Happy Deepavali & New Year to You and all readers…..
Even I heard that these days there are no service issues with BSNL & even speed is very good. (I use airtel)
Eyeopener surely it is…no wonder they say devil is in detail. I would not blame the companies for in this highly competitive world their margins are squeezed so they would try all new schemes for getting the new customers. Read somewhere that it is difficult to get the customer but only if companies realized that loyalty also pays. As it is our hard earned money we need to be careful..Aakhir nuksan to humara ho raha hai.
I also like to share one thing – companies take existing clients for granted. In my last job we were using internet connection from Airtel (I think Rs 750 for unlimited usage – good speed) – definitely usage was high as there were multiple users. One day I got a call from Airtel that “We have launched a new plan for corporates – with better speed & some additional features. You need to pay additional Rs 300 pm.” I said OK – they changed the plan but there was no visible difference in the speed. So I called them back & asked “give us our old plan”. They gave me shock by saying “That plan is already closed & the plan that you are right now using is the cheapest in unlimited category.” 🙁
They played the same game couple of months back but now you can imagine what I replied #$^@ 😉
Hi Hemanth.,it’s nice article in these days usage of cell & Internet services increasing day by day. if this article will reach atleast 5% of the people those who are using postpaid cell connection and internet the people of 5% will save the amount u cant imagin. these is the one area, there are so many areas like these.
think and find and save your hard earned money.
Must share it with your friends.
[…] In this high inflation time, penny saved is penny earned. Interesting post on how just being aware of his Mobile and internet usage Lloyd Pinto saved money. How I reduced Rs 20000 from my annual expense with less than 8 hours of effort […]
I am based in Vadodara, Gujarat. I need help in Financial planning. Can you help me? how?
I have recently switched to the IPTV service from BSNL. Earlier i had a locaql cable connection that was giving digital services of Digi cable. If i am able to convince 20-25 users (out of 125+) for IPTV, then we will get it over Fiber in Jaipur. The plans of IPTV are far cost-effective than those of DTH providers and give added advantage of no-disruption even in bad weather.
I also changed my pre-paid mobile plan from Airtel from a 60 second pulse to a per second pulse. The tariff is 1 paisa for same network and 1.2 paisa for other networks pan-india. Although, I may not know on which network i am calling, i still save a lot as not every call is timed to complete at close to end of the ongoing pulse. Most calls are of either 10-35 seconds in duration or even if they are of longer duration they tend to be in this range over and above the exact minutes consumed. In two months i have seen my costs reduce by up to 25%.
We have opted for the CUG plan for a second SIM for the people at my College, we save up to Rs. 50-100 pm amongst ourselves.
We have also started to pool cars, giving us comfort, saftey and cost-efficiency.
I have used both DTH as well as Digi cable. The main advantage of DTH service was that it was more reliable as it was not affected by power failures, heavy rains and dust storms etc. The advantage of Digi cable was that it was economical for operating four TVs. Now the equation has changed with the conversion of analog service to digital service which involves installation of four digital boxes.
I am also thinking of trying IPTV service from BSNL. Can you give me the idea of the cost involved if I have to use this service for four TVs?
Its a no brainer….in this dynamic world, nothing is static…what is correct today, will not be acceptable tomorrow, every thing dealing with money needs a review… every 1 year, if not within 6 months atleast, this virtual world is way too grey to trust blindly. We buy plans and then think of usage, infact it should always be the reverse.
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