I stood gaping at his elaborate arrangement of convenience. He not only used to avoid call charges on his part, but also had a reminder service set up for himself. He was another of those millions of Indians for whom Missed Calls are a routine and integral part of their reason to go mobile.
Cellular providers who bear the brunt of these missed calls hesitantly admit to about 25-35% of their traffic comprising of missed calls. For every such missed call, which transcends across networks, the call originating operator needs to pay up to his fellow operators. The same holds true for the call terminating operator, in case he provides Caller Line Identification service. He would have to then trace back to find out who called. He ends up paying all the other networks along the route.
But who cares for etiquette as long as Missed Calls are free ?
Indians use missed calls for a variety of reasons.
- It could be to just convey the person back home that one has reached his/her destination safely.
- It could also be to indicate to the user to give a call back from the office land line so that neither of them incur any charges. The office turns out to be the loser.
- The third chief reason is a by-product of the imbalance in call rates imposed by TRAI(Telecom Regulation Authority of India) on cellular and fixed line rates and the inter connectivity rates. For example if a Spice cellular customer needs to call up his friend on the BSNL(Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited) fixed line, he would prefer giving a missed call and let his friend call him instead. This way instead of him shelling out 2 rupees per minute, he induces his friend to shell out 1 rupee. Quite mind boggling, right ? Not for Indians though. These are routine uses for missed calls.