Phone Problems Around the Globe

"Liberating. Making great things possible. It's the only one that lets you call and text. Help! M lost hir in Hong Kong." These are some of the lines used to promote the prepaid international roaming service of a leading telecom company here in the Philippines.

As I prepared to go to India, I decided to have this service activated - not the minimum of 3 days before the trip as the brochure suggested but a few weeks before. The girl who attended to me then said that I need not do anything anymore - the roaming service will just work from March 8 to 15, which was the duration of my entire trip.

Did it work automatically? Obviously not. As I arrived in India, I tried to manually select a provider but all I got was the message : NO COVERAGE. I checked into my hotel (March 9 already by now - with the flights and all) - and my phone was still useless. I then used the hotel phone to call the family just to let them know I had reached India safely and to ask the hubby to call the phone company to complain!

The phone finally worked at about 7pm, March 9 (after the hubby complained, of course) - about two days' delayed and after me spending on the hotel phone. Not only that - I had to manually select a provider so it was not automatic in my case. Don't ask me why but there was obviously a glitch in the system. Maybe not enough Pinoys go to India?

Then come Thursday, March 13, two days before I fly back home, what do I receive? A message which went: " ____ Telecom welcomes you to New Delhi." Hello -- I think the message should have been more like bids you goodbye?

And yes, while in Agra - we had no signal. The analysts from Malaysia, though, could still use their phones. Oh well...

Roaming services really are a big help when we travel. I just wish phone companies would deliver the level of service that they brag about in their ads. As for me, I was held captive by the hotel phone since as we arrived at 4am, what other phone was there to use? I guess great things weren't possible for a day or two. If I was lost in Delhi, I wouldn't even be able to text. "It's the only one that lets you call and text..." - That's if I was able to use it on the date they promised... :-(

Coming up next: Places to see in India

[By Angelica Viloria | Thursday, April 10, 2003]

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