What are Missing in the Airtel Free2Bu AD?
I’m sure you are warming up to a very cool weekend. Hope your week was mostly good. Mine’s been good too especially because two of lecturers postponed collection of their assignments. However, something made me pretty sad. It’s Airtel’s (new) Free2Bu promotion. I think the freedom pertains to themselves not their customers. I received several text messages ‘encouraging’ me to subscribe to the service. All it says is that
“B who you want 2 B on Airtel Free2BU. Join now by dialing *228# & enjoy 6GP on your Airtel calls, 4GP on friends and family, 10Gp on PAYG data & 100 free SMS daily.”
Unfortunately, I took this message as is and subscribed. It turns out that every promise in the message is true. However, some information has been withheld. So I went to Airtel’s facebook page to air my concerns. There I saw a link to a new page created for the promotion. That page has the information below.
This is not entirely true because;
- It is to only Airtel numbers; this is not captured in the message… neither on their website not Facebook page (even the promotion’s).
- You pay for the first two text messages (to Airtel numbers)
I am even confused about the difference between this one and the other one which also gives you 100 SMSs a day by sending MAX(I) to 444. Which is better (cost-effective)? As a student, that is my concern.. and this defeats their radio ad which portrays them as student–friendly.
Mum, truly speaking, I am unable to speak about this one, because since I ported to Airtel, my internet has never worked. I keep receiving internet configuration messages. Clicking “install” on the phone has no effect. I called customer service.. they gave me the same configuration details. When it didn’t work, they asked me to go the ‘nearest’ service point. I would rather not go because I am losing confidence. However, the green colour they chose for this ‘benefit’ rekindles my hope about an in-coming service provider is I expect to fiercely compete, bring down data and voice tariffs. One thing I would like them to do is to acquire one of the TV networks in Ghana like Crystal, Sky or Smart so that they offer bundled service (TV+telephone+internet+any other possibility). After all the company is home-grown.
Don’t be fascinated about this. You already get to call 5 Airtel numbers you have registered as family and friends. So what is the big deal? It is nothing strange. Even on MTN, you get to call family and friends numbers cheaper than 4GP if you are lucky to find yourself in a good ‘zone’. What’s more before 8am, you pay a basic rate of 1.5p/m further lessened by F&F rate (40%). MTN’s F&F even includes one international phone number (Nigeria/USA/UK landline). So they should stop bragging about this one.
Mum, in the unlikely event that you subscribe to this promotion, I’ll recommend you rather not wait to place a call within these hours… (especially from 00:30) else you will regret. There’s se-e-e-rious noise in the call. Its is as if someone’s knocking a gong in your earpiece. It’s so disheartening (and dis-’earing’). This is not a feature I’m enthused about. And mind the *, you need to spend at least 0.15Gp within the previous day to qualify for this or the so-called free call between 00:30 and 05:00). So why not make your calls before 21:59 to save your eardrums?
And now this is the part they try as much to be silent about.
This is the source of my dissatisfaction. I ported to Airtel because extra-Airtel calls where sometimes cheaper (8p/m) than intra-MTN calls (depending on the zone) . Now they want to increase. I have no problem about this… but it should be included in the SMS that is convincing me to dial *228#… so that the information would be total. Even the CS rep appreciates this concern diplomatically apologised.
This is that part none of the communications fail to tell us.. that you can unsubscribe only after 30 days they ripping you off. “This is done by the machine”, the customer rep told me… “so I cannot do anything about it”.. he continued. So this is what I also told him… that within the 30 days, I…
- will not make any call from my Airtel SIM
- will get a SIM from another network to make calls.. then after the 30 days, I
- will exhaust my current airtime… and
That is the word he did not want to hear… but fortunately for me, the call was recorded. Hopefully they will do ‘something’ about it as they always say. So now I’ll find solace elsewhere for the next 21 days… cos 1 October will surely be here. Mum, enjoy your weekend.. and greetings to the folks.
Your son, Kweku