The subscriber was told to dial *121# for checking balance and validity of his mobile number, but when he did it, Airtel promptly deducted money from his account for activating ‘Hello Tunes’
Even as Bharti Airtel Ltd has become India’s largest telecom operator, the growth has given rise to many problems, not for the company but for subscribers. The number of complaints from subscribers against Airtel is growing phenomenally across the country (Also read: ‘Mystery charges’ in your mobile bill? You are not alone http://www.moneylife.in/article/78/11125.html; Airtel calls for ‘dues’ that it says it forgot to bill earlier http://www.moneylife.in/article/78/11071.html). Most of the complaints are related to wrong billing, automatic activation of value added services (VAS) and thus deduction of money from accounts.
However, here is a strange case where one subscriber was asked to call *121# to check the balance in his account and the validity of his subscription. But, when he dialled the given number, Airtel promptly deducted Rs30 from his account for activating ‘Hello Tunes’ services. What is stunning in this matter is the subscriber received two emails with different utility of the number *121# from Airtel’s customer services!
The subscriber, Pradeep Nayak, wrote a mail to Airtel after the mobile operator activated ‘Hello Tunes’ services and deducted Rs30 from his account. He received an email from Sudha N, Customer Care, Bharti Airtel Ltd, which says, "We would like to inform you that, you may dial 543211 from your Airtel mobile to activate the Hello Tune service. We request you to maintain a minimum balance of Rs30/- and song downloading charges will be Rs15. Further, we request you to dial *121# to check the balance and validity."
In the second email, Karthik, the other customer care executive from Airtel, says, “We regret to inform you that the balance has been deducted from your account for the activation of Hello Tunes on your mobile number. Further, we would like to inform you that the same has been activated on your mobile number by dialling *121#. Also, we regret to inform you that there is no provision to refund the same since the same has been activated from your end."
The question is who among the two customer care executives is telling the truth and for what exactly is the number *121# being used by Airtel? We are still waiting for the answers from Airtel. In fact, the company officials have not even bothered to send an acknowledgement to our emails.
Anyway, as per our information and past experience of this writer, the number 121 is used by Airtel subscribers for queries like new schemes, billing plan and VAS information. Since this is an interactive voice response system (IVRS), the subscriber has to mandatorily listen to instructions and follow it to get information out of it. When someone adds * or # before or after the given number, while calling from a mobile, it is supposed to reach the service provider’s computers through unstructured supplementary service data (USSD) protocol.
Mostly Airtel uses ‘12345’ as standard ending number for its customer care services. For example, for Mumbai subscribers 9892012345 is the customer care number for post-paid subscribers.
In the above-mentioned case, Airtel had even asked the subscriber to provide a landline number for quicker response! We all know that Airtel also provides landline phone services. However, asking a mobile subscriber to provide a landline number for quick response seems very odd and unheard of in the telecom industry.
QInvest and Ambit launch largest Sharia’a Compliant India Fund; Deutsche MF unveils Fixed Term Fund–Series 77; Reliance MF introduces Fixed Horizon Fund–XVI–Series 6; SBI Mutual Fund floats 90 days plan
QInvest and Ambit launch largest Sharia’a Compliant India Fund
Qatar’s investment bank, QInvest in collaboration with India’s financial services partner, Ambit, has launched Ambit Qinvest India Fund, an open-ended Sharia’a compliant Indian equity fund.
The fund is the India’s largest Sharia’a compliant equity fund with an investment strategy that will combine dynamic equity allocation to generate returns.
The fund offers an attractive entry point for investors to leverage the potential for long term price appreciation underpinned by strong growth drivers in the Indian market. Qinvest conviction in this project and the Indian market is further demonstrated by seeding capital into the product.
QInvest’s CEO, Shahzad Shahbaz, said: “The Indian equity market provides investors with a highly attractive opportunity to invest in a diversified range of Sharia’a compliant equities. The market capitalisation of Sharia’a compliant companies within the Nifty, stock market index is nearly 60%.”
“The Sharia’a compliant strategy’s performance in the last three months, since inception, is 10.4%” Shahbaz added.
“Key Sharia’a compliant growth sectors in the Indian economy are likely to witness significant activity including power, roads, automotive, pharmaceutical and consumer staple and non-staple products,” said Andrew Holland, Equities CEO at India’s Ambit Capital.
Deutsche MF unveils Fixed Term Fund–Series 77
Deutsche Mutual Fund has launched DWS Fixed Term Fund–Series 77, a close-ended income fund.
The objective of the Fund is to generate regular income by investing in debt and money market instruments maturing on or before the date of the maturity of the scheme.
The scheme offers dividend (payout) and growth option. The new issue opens on 10th December and closes on 13th December. The exit load is nil. The minimum investment amount is Rs5,000.
CRISIL Short Term Bond Index is the benchmark index. Avnish Jain is the fund manager.
Reliance MF introduces Fixed Horizon Fund–XVI–Series 6
Reliance Mutual Fund has launched Reliance Fixed Horizon Fund–XVI–Series 6, a close-ended income scheme.
The primary investment objective of the scheme is to generate regular returns and growth of capital by investing in central and state government securities and other fixed income/debt securities normally maturing in line with the time profile of the scheme with the objective of limiting interest rate volatility. The tenor is 368 days from the date of allotment.
The scheme offers dividend (payout) and growth option. The new issue opens on 10th December and closes on 14th December. The exit load is nil. The minimum investment amount is Rs5,000.
CRISIL Short Term Bond Fund Index is the benchmark index. Amit Tripathi is the fund manager.
SBI Mutual Fund floats 90 days plan
SBI Mutual Fund floats SBI Debt Fund Series–90 Days–36, a close-ended income scheme.
The investment objective of the scheme is to provide regular income, liquidity and returns to the investors through investments in a portfolio comprising of debt instruments such as government securities, PSU & corporate bonds and money market instruments maturing on or before the maturity of the scheme.
The new issue opens on 10th December and closes on 14th December. The minimum investment amount is Rs5,000.
CRISIL Liquid Fund Index is the benchmark index. Rajeev Radhakrishnan is the fund manager.
New Delhi: Foreign direct investment (FDI) flows into developing countries including India, is expected to recover over the next couple of years and is projected to increase by 17% in 2010, reports PTI quoting a World Bank report.
The report—World Investment and Political Risk—which was launched by the World Bank’s Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) said the net FDI inflows into the developing countries is projected to touch $416 billion in 2010, up from its 2009 level of $354 billion.
Overall, FDI inflows to the developing world continues to be “overwhelmingly” concentrated in middle-income countries, with Brazil, the Russian Federation, India, and China (BRIC) alone absorbing about half, the report said.
Net private flows (which include FDI and portfolio equity flows, as well as debt from private creditors) are projected to rebound in 2010 and 2011, but to remain substantially lower than their $1.2 trillion peak in 2007.
FDI prospects appear brighter for developing countries in 2010 and beyond; their economic performance is expected to outpace that of high-income economies as their domestic demand is buoyant, the report said.
“This upsurge in FDI into developing countries is welcome news, especially considering last year's drop,” MIGA executive vice president Izumi Kobayashi said.
FDI into developing countries declined by 40% last year.
Mr Kobayashi noted that “FDI flows directed to productive assets can spur economic growth and reduce poverty.”
FDI can help generate and sustain economic growth and development by providing much-needed financial resources, technology transfer, managerial expertise, and connections to the global economy, the report said.
“Economic growth is critical for all of us around the globe but it is even more so for underserved markets—those economies that have been struggling under the very heavy burden of conflict and instability,” Mr Kobayashi added.
The MIGA report said executives from multinational companies across the world believe that despite the various problems being faced by the developing world, such as lack of finance and quality of infrastructure, the biggest worry is “political risk”.
The top worry of multinational executives when operating in developing countries over the next three years is political risk, and a fifth of the investors surveyed use political risk insurance to mitigate this risk.
The report, which also focuses on FDI into conflict affected and fragile economies, said investors there are mainly concerned about adverse government intervention rather than overt political violence as adverse changes are often responsible for losses in these destinations.