I bought a Tata Docomo connection the day it was launched in Bangalore. And probably in India as well, which makes me one of the first few thousand customers of Docomo. On that day, there was no reason not to buy it and since I had an extra phone, I went ahead and put the SIM on my secondary phone. And so lovely were the plans of Docomo that within a week, my Airtel SIM was on the secondary phone, and in almost two months, every provider was counting the benefits of one second pulse. And probably that’s the reason I love DoCoMo, besides because it’s a Tata thing.
At that time, Docomo was good mainly because of its plans. The network was not too great, but it was as good as one could expect from a company just launched. It was not there in basements, lifts, remote areas and in some buildings, for example Manipal Hospital was one place where it wasn’t there in almost half the places inside the building.
But things were manageable and with the speed Docomo was putting their towers, I had expected that maximum within a year they’d have network as good as Airtel or Vodafone.
Guess I was wrong.
When my office shifted to Outer Ring Road, a few kms from Marathahalli Bridge, I was surprised to know that the network wasn’t there in almost half of the building. And then, in the lab, there were absolutely zero network for Docomo. But what is more surprising here is that the case is the same even today, almost a year and a half later. Just to clear any doubt, I’d like to mention here that Airtel, Vodafone, and even Reliance have network access throughout my office. Haven’t checked about others though.
But then, this is not exactly the reason I am writing this post. Almost everyone in my office and home knows that when in lab, I am not reachable, and I am quite okay with that.
The real frustration comes out when problems get bigger than this. For example, in the past few months, I have seen network access completely going at the center of Marathahalli Bridge repeatedly, and for more than ten, fifteen minutes. Ironically, some of the biggest Ranbir Kapoor posters claiming no getting away from network can be found within range of two kms.
Also, it frustrates me when every time at the HAL airport road, my network goes if I am talking. On the best days, only my voice breaks, while on an average day, call gets disconnected.
But then again, things still have to go over the top.
Earlier, Docomo gave a service where they used to give you detail of calls you missed. Now, Docomo has decided to charge for the service. Now that is again something fine enough, as long as you miss these calls because you switch off the phone. But what generally happens, is that DoCoMo’s unomnipresent network goes, sometimes when you highly need it (else, I wouldn’t even know it has gone, mostly) and there are tries to make calls, up and down, and then after some time DoCoMo network comes back and tells you that you have missed some call and if you pay 25 paise, you can get to know who called you.
So if you simplify the whole situation, you see that now a company can ask you for money because their network is bad, and call it a value add service.
Besides, I have had some good experiences with DoCoMo customer care in the past, when my money was immediately returned when I was once charged for something I had not asked for. The good part here also was that I have been charged extra only once in all this time, while such things are quite common with other operators. But then, recently there was a strange experience when a customer care person refused to tell me whether a particular package was available anymore and asked me to call the IVRS.
When I tried to contact DoCoMo on Twitter with some of these problems, the only answer I was given was to contact a nodal officer. On specifically asking whether not telling about packages through customer care was by design, there was no response from Twitter DoCoMo.
In short, while I enjoyed the services of DoCoMo for the first year and even after that, now the services, instead of getting better, are getting worse, and DoCoMo too seems to be turning into a money monster, even though not to the extents I have faced in case of other operators, not yet. But then, when compared to others, there are enough of problems with DoCoMo which may lead to me shifting to some other operator one day or the other. Don’t know if DoCoMo would mind letting their day one customers go, though I am sure I would not very much like it.