A journey to discover the people who change our world.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Balance, but not Validity.

‘You have balance, but you have no validity’.

This was said to me in all sincerity. Out of context, I could have been very offended. Given the situation however, I was thankful for the clarity. What am I on about? Mobile phone tariffs.

I’ve been learning a lot about since starting out on my travels. In each new country I buy a local SIM card and set myself up with a number. It means I’m more flexible, independent and can more easily get directions if I get lost on my way an interview. But at this stage, I could do a comparative study of operator arrangements across the continents. India is the most confusing to date. Numbers are sold on a regional basis. So when I bought my cards in Mumbai, it means when I travel out of there I am roaming, a convenient but more costly setup. Along with call credit, I also have to buy phone validity on a monthly basis, which keeps the card active. To get the SIM in the first place, I also had to present my passport, visa and have a passport photo at hand. Finally, when all was set up, and I got the number, I end up getting about five spam text messages and automated phone calls a day.

Oh well, it is all an education, and at least I am indeed, mobile.


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