Three months ago when I left for India, I’d started believing in the friedmanesque notion that India had actually leapfrogged the digital divide by investing in wireless telecom technology.
It’s like how Laloo is praised for making the Indian railways profitable, but no one complains about the god awful smell, because it’s such a part and parcel of Indian railways.
So you’ve got a shiny new technology that looks good on paper, but that doesn’t matter, as I was about to find out in an endeavour that I call wake up and smell the bullshit

Because it was the only alternative to Reliance, which has rather aggressive and shady billing practices, (including a strap-on fee for cancellation and returning the wireless instrument), I decided to go with Tata Indicom.

The Plug to Surf modem, which I now lovingly refer to as “Piece of Shit” cost me Rs 3000. It’s a clever ruse to keep you hooked to their service, because if you spend three grand on a modem, you’re sure to at least give the service three months, just to get some value out of that POS

I’m on the third month, so I’ll do my best to give a qualified review of the POS service.

Places where the POS somewhat:
Mumbai, Maharashtra.
Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu.

Places where the POS zero had network coverage:
Vattakanal – Tamil Nadu
Amby Valley City – Maharashtra
Lonavala – Maharashtra.

Places where Jhaata had good signal coverage, but poor net connectivity:
Alibaug – Maharashtra.

I was told by a friend that CDMA does not have the range of GSM, it’s perhaps why the Plug2Surf service sucks so much. All you hope for with a thing like this is for it to work in places where leisure and good air can be had, but you get the very opposite.

In terms of speed, it’s probably a little faster than dial up at best, but speeds fluctuate wildly, so don’t be surprised if you find yourself in front of the browser for over an hour just to book a flight ticket, or worse, a train ticket on Sometimes the connection might not transfer a byte for well over 10-15 minutes, so you’ll have to disconnect and connect again. Hopefully you’ll
not get the dreaded error 721 (the remote computer did not respond)., as I did for several days.

The dialer software absolutely sucks. Either you get five bars, or you get none. So you have no realistic way of telling whether you’ll have a good signal unless you have a Tata Indicom phone around.

The Plug2surf modem has very poor build quality – it sticks out a bit, so there’s bound to be a shallow knock or two. The first one loosened it, the second one just broke it. I had to get it re-soldered, and when I examined its construction I was appalled at how the entire weight falls on the connecting pins. Why would anyone make a device like this any less rugged than a swiss knife? Perhaps because service centres would make more money that way?

I haven’t tried calling support, because there are enough nightmarish reports on that, and I hope this service dies a fiery horrible death. I have hopes for BSNL’s EVDO technology – which is technologically superior, but assheaded at the present.

BSNL has decided to launch its Data Services on CDMA 2000 IX by using BSNL Internet Connect Card (ICC). The CDMA IX ICC will provide Internet Service @144kbps to computer users on their laptops as well as on desktops. This service will be available in all those locations wherever CDMA IX MSC based coverage is there. However, during roaming the said Internet connectivity will not work at present.

I wish I had a way to show you all how much MB I’ve transferred over the last three months, but the dialer’s logs are not hosted online, but on the client. As a recent survivor of a hard disk crash, you’ll have to take my word that I got about 400 MB for the 6 grand I got billed, so that comes to about 15 rs per MB.

Based on my experiences, I’m compelled to add Tata’s Plug2surf to the Horror Service Hall of Fame. It’s one of the most worthless networks in terms of reach, uptime, and speed. Like this guy says – it’s the costliest dialup you will pay for.

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2 Responses

  1. RendzeV

    i m using it since last one such there is no problems with it..its working compared to similar products in the market..