If you have recently moved to Maharashtra, either temporarily or permanently, and use Airtel services, these are the things you should be knowing. For the sake of this post, when ever Maharashtra is mentioned, it is to be taken excluding Mumbai, since Mumbai is a different telecom circle.
Voice Calls while Roaming
Airtel has very vast network coverage in Maharashtra. So if you are coming from other states temporarily, you can very well keep your existing Airtel number. But, roaming is something you have to take care of. Depending on how long your ‘temporary’ stay is, you could consider doing a ‘roaming free recharge’ or take a new number here.
Normally while you are roaming, you will be charged for incoming calls too. To avoid this, you could do a Roaming free recharge. For Airtel, this is Rs.79 per month (subject to change at Airtel’s discretion; so check latest rates). When you recharge with Rs.79, you will no longer be charged for incoming calls. Outgoing calls to other circle (including Maharashtra) numbers will be charged at 1.2ps/sec (subject to change). Calls to your home state (where you’re coming from) will be as per your existing plan.
So if you’re stay is short, say 2-3 months, you can very well do with this roaming free recharge option instead of having to go through all the duties of (and after) taking a new local number.
Your SMS packs (if any) will continue to hold good while you’re roaming too. So there’s nothing extra you need to do with regards to SMS packs.
If you have a smart phone, this is the most important part while roaming. Fortunately, this also, along with SMS packs, isn’t affected by roaming. You packs will work in Maharashtra as they used to in your home state. BUT, a thing to note here is that Airtel doesn’t have 3G in Maharashtra. It has a collaboration with Vodafone and Idea (who both have 3G in Maharashtra) to share 3G network. This agreement is being challenged by DOT in courts and the verdict will decide the fate of Airtel 3G in Maharashtra.
Before DOT came to stop this agreement, I experienced decent 3G network speeds in cities of Pune, Nashik, Aurangabad, Akola and Nagpur. Now, it is just 2G (this may change if Airtel, Vodafone and Idea win their appeal against the stay put by DOT). So even if you have a 3G plan, you will only get 2G speeds.