No Cellphones

Have you any idea how painful the rules for even pre-paid mobile subscriptions have been made, of late? They want to basically know everything about you before they let you have a cellphone. I thought Tata Docomo was hopeless. It turns out that this is the norm these days. The cellphone company is required by the TRAI, presumably under threat of punitive action, to pain the shit out of people before they are allowed cellphones.

It’s not even enough that I have valid ID, for example. They also need to know where I live, who my parents are, what my residential phone number is, and sundry other things. Why? Why on Earth should I tell Docomo, Airtel, or the government anything about myself, other than that I want a phone, and that I’m willing to pay for it? If I choose to participate in some statistical data-gathering that they do, I would understand. But this is ridiculous.

I was in Berlin for three months, and both Muggu and I got local phone numbers. It was about the same amount of trouble – I had to walk all the way to the store, and get my wallet out and pay the guy. Wait. That doesn’t sound right. No, it’s definitely easier to get a phone in Germany.

The worst part of all this is that Airtel let me use the SIM card I bought for about a week before they thought that a copy of my passport (which has my old address on it – hence all this misery) wasn’t enough to let me have  a phone. So let’s get this straight: If I was up to trouble, and going to use the phone to do something bad, I am assumed to be kind enough to wait seven days before I start doing this? What fucking logic is that? And if they let me use the phone because they assumed I wasn’t going to blow up the planet using (cue apocalyptic music) a cellphone, what’s changed, suddenly?

I’m surprised the telecom companies went along with the legislation that led to this stupendous increase in the amount of paperwork necessary to get a phone. One would think that with the kind of money involved, they would have been more willing to pay somebody off.


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