15 easy steps, and one actual workable step, to port from Aircel

Keep an Oxford dictionary nearby

Chennai, March 8: Thanks to the trouble in Aircel, its customers have been facing huge network problem, unable to make or receive calls — getting to understand what Vodafone customers go through even in normal times.

Okay. That was just good natured barb at the hard-working Vodafone guys, who are always busy and attending to customers, so much so that many have become first-name-basis friends with their recorded voice system. Many of us spend more time on their ‘call hold’ than we do with our own kids.

Sorry for the digresion. This is about Aircel though. With the company having filed for bankruptcy, and its systems on total blink, there has been a huge demand from its customers to shift to other networks while retaining the same number. This is otherwise called ‘porting’, and there is some confusion on how to go about this.

We at Crank’s News, who are experts in telecom technology based on our rich experience in standing in long queues for hours together for paying BSNL bill in our young days, decided to address this matter in this week’s column.

Here is our simple, easy-stepped What-To-Dos on porting and what will happen:

1. Before you start your porting process, check with the service provider you are intending to move to on its terms and conditions.  Terms and conditions is usually found on its site in some obscure corner in point size that would require electronic microscope to view.

2. Alternatively,  call its customer care and speak to one of its executives. Remember to  keep near you all the necessary details and documents, which must include one Advanced Oxford Dictionary that can give you synonyms for various expletives. You will need them in plenty for your conversation with the customer care guys.

3. Once you are done with checking the terms and conditions and made up your mind on the company you want to shift our account to, you would need unique porting code (UPC) from your your existing company.  Getting this should be a cinch.  Send to ‘1990’ the message: “Port XXXXXXXXXX”, where X is your 10-digit Aircel number,  but wait, if you could send messages you would not be shifting to some other service provider.

4. Since you have no signal at all, the mobile reads “Emergency Calls Only”. Emergency calls only is telecomspeak for “Ha. Ha. Ha. Your moron, you can’t make any kind call”.

 5. Never mind. You can drop in at the Aircel customer care office, where a helpful customer care executive will guide you to another Aircel office because this one is closed due to server fault.

6. Don’t lose heart. It is only a small work still. Go to the other Aircel outlet, which is situated at the other end of the city. Find every other Aircel customer in the city there as it is the only outlet working as of now.

7. Stand in the queue with others blaming, Rajinikanth-like, the whole system. Join everybody else in cribbing about how banks and telecom companies are making ordinary customers suffer. “They will allow Nirav Modi to get away, but will make us suffer,” someone in the queue will say apropos of nothing, and you will nod in sagely agreement.

8. The queue will move at the pace of larva to caterpillar. Or even slowly. At Inzamam-ul-Haq pace, that is. Before you can make it to the counter, the counter guy will stand up and announce that the system has crashed and ask you all  to join the queue for porting manually.

9. Many will leave, letting out bad words volubly. But you are a gentleman. You will let out bad words volubly, and still continue to stay put in the line.

10. Once you manually register your number for porting, you will be told that you will receive your UPC in 3-4 working days.  Like everything that telecom companies say this one too is a huge lie.

11. If and when you get the UPC, go to the nearest showroom of your new service provider and submit your address proof and other details and get a new sim.

12. Come back again and get the right sim, because the first time you got a mini sim, while your phone takes in only nano sim.

13. Once you insert the sim, wait for a few hours. After which, keep checking for the ‘signal tower’.  But it will never appear.

14. Visit the showroom again and complain. Get told that your porting request has been rejected because of some pending bill issue with Aircel.

15. Go back to Aircel showroom to enquire about the bill issue. You tell them that you have paid your pending bill completely. They respond by saying that their system is not reflecting it. How can it? If they had any better system they would not be filing for bankruptcy for over Rs.15,000 crore. Get told that they can’t clear your account till the system shows that you have paid the bill. You yell at them. You talk in capital letters. They wouldn’t care. You are the 15,000th guy to do so. You walk out in a huff.

16. Throw your Aircel sim into Cooum and just get a new one with some damn company. This should have been our step 1.