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Here's how you can save on phone bills

Last updated on: February 9, 2012 10:01 IST

Here's how you can save on phone bills

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Tania Kishore Jaleel in Mumbai

When Delhi-based Vidha Shukla, a postpaid customer of Vodafone, found a sudden 45 per cent jump in her bill, she was shocked.

A quick word with the call centre executive revealed the company had raised rates by 20 per cent in January.

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Image: Telecom companies are set to increase rates.
Photographs: Reuters

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But she is still unable to understand the rest 25 per cent increase.

"My monthly mobile bill used to be Rs 1,000.

Suddenly, it shot to Rs 1,450, even though I make my official calls from the office landline," says Shukla.

Telecom companies, which were slashing rates to acquire more customers, are now looking at increasing these.

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Image: Telecom firms had cut rates to attract customers.
Photographs: Reuters

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Crisil, in a recent report, said: "With the number of operators likely to reduce (due to the Supreme Court's cancellation of 122 licences), incumbent ones will be better poised to raise the rates.

"More, operators who acquire licences under the new process will likely raise the rates to cover higher licence fees."

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Image: Operators are expected to raise rates to cover costs.
Photographs: Reuters

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In fact, some had begun raising the rates from last year itself. Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Reliance Communications had all raised rates last year.

India added 400 million users in the last two years, but revenues crawled 10 per cent, and average minutes of usage per customer fell from 465 in 2007 to 350.

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Image: India added 400 million users in the last two years.
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Vodafone's recent rate increase will add to the costs. Postpaid subscribers who had opted for the per-second plan will now have to pay 1.5 paisa a second (90p/min) for local calls to any network's phone in Delhi and STD calls to a landline anywhere in India.

Customers, as a result, should gear up for higher expenses.

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Image: Customers should gear up for higher expenses.
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There are options though: A postpaid customer, if the rate increase leads to a surge in the mobile bill, can consider switching to prepaid services.

However, a prepaid card will ensure some restriction on talk time.

Rikesh Parikh, V-P, marketing strategy, Prabhudas Lilladher, says he can choose a scheme for you, based on usage.

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Image: Customers can save money by exploring options.
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"If you text a lot, look for a relevant scheme. If you do bulk-calling, look for schemes with attractive calling rates," he says.

So what if you are a Vodafone customer sending a lot of text messages, but Airtel has better schemes for these?

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Image: Users should look at relevant scheme.
Photographs: Reuters

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Make use of the number portability service. With competition likely to increase among telecom operators, you will see attractive schemes emerging.

Or, one could do what Shukla is planning on. She has a BlackBerry, which means she has options such as a BlackBerry Messenger and Whatsapp.

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Image: Make use of the number portability service.
Photographs: Reuters

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These applications allow you to instant message contacts on monthly internet charges.

"I won't switch service providers or even move to prepaid. Instead, I will bbm or whatsapp people more," she says.

Also, get rid of value-added services such as caller tunes to bring down the mobile bill.

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Image: Users can save money by getting rid of value-added services.
Photographs: Reuters

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