I almost respect Airtel, how they come out with innovative ways to ‘steal’ money from its subscribers in the name of Value Added Service (VAS)!
My domestic helper, who has been living with us for many years in Assam and who came to live with us recently as we have an infant in our house. We got her a mobile phone so that she can speak to anyone she wants in her privacy or any one can call her in her own number!
But sadly, she is illiterate, but knows how to press the green button, and red button to make and receive calls. But she can not read SMS!
And now Airtel has devised a way to ‘steal’ money from her. Airtel sends a flash SMS to her, which directly displays on her mobile screen.
An example image is attached below:-
And if you scroll down, you get to see this:-
So, one has to scroll down to see the its charges and how! One has to press OK Button Or the Green Button! It is pretty obvious that an illiterate will not be able to read this SMS ( written in Roman Alphabet) and instinctively press OK! Or how may have heard abut Flash SMS ?
And this kind of flash SMS come to her mobile at least 10 times a day! No wonder, her talktime balances deplete fast!
To put things into perspective, here are few statistics,
1. India’s illiteracy rate is 26%. And India has population of approx. 120 crore.
2. Airtel has almost 27% of the total subscribers which is roughly 18 crore subscribers spread across India.