BSNL Mobile: Renewed Plan485 ‘Freebies’ before expiry to avoid main balance drain; Confusion due to ‘STV Enquiry unsuccessful’ msg

Background reading for this post: Inadvertent waste of Rs.129 BSNL Main Balance due to Plan-485’s ‘free’ Internet data expiry; How to check BSNL ‘free’ Internet data validity, https://ravisiyer.wordpress.com/2018/11/06/inadvertent-waste-of-rs-129-bsnl-balance/, dated 6th Nov. 2018

Past day or two, I have been getting the SMS that Freebies on my BSNL mobile plan will expire on 2nd Feb. 2019. As the above post shows, what that means is that after 2nd Feb. 2019, any Internet data usage as well as phone calls made from my BSNL mobile (SIM) will be charged to my regular BSNL Mobile balance. The last time Rs. 129 of the main balance got wasted in this fashion mainly due to Internet data access being done by apps on the phone automatically.

This time around I did not want that to happen. So yesterday on 31st Jan. 2019, I recharged my BSNL mobile plan with Plan485, paying Rs. 485, using BSNL Internet portal for recharge. The Plan485 details are given here: http://www.bsnl.co.in/opencms/bsnl/BSNL/services/mobile/prepaid_plans_new23022018.html. The critical aspects are free phone calls (in India) and free Internet in India (High speed for 1.5 GB + any bonus that applies per day, low speed (80 Kbps?) after that for that day) for a period of 90 days, and plan validity for a period of 180 days. So after 90 days the freebies expire but the plan is valid for 90 days more at which time it will charge for services from the main balance (unless freebies are extended using a plan recharge).

A few minutes after the recharge was done, using command of *123# (dialing it) showed that main validity had extended to around 6 months in the future – 30th July 2019. That was good and as specified for Plan485.

But using the command of *124*2# to get the Freebies validity (referred to as STV validity in response messages) gave me this disappointing message: “STV Enquiry unsuccessful. Kindly contact customer care.”

I decided to wait till today (1st Feb.) to see if that status changes. But when I tried today there was no change. So I called BSNL customer care. After a failed attempt, the second attempt got through to an agent. It took some effort to explain the issue to him. Finally he told me that my Freebies balance has been extended to early May (I think he said 3rd May) which would come to around 90 days from 2nd Feb and which too is as specified for Plan485.

I asked him why I am not getting that info. when I give the *124*2# inquiry command. He was not able to give a proper answer but said that after my Freebies plan expired on 2nd Feb., the new Freebies plan will automatically come into play. So I take that to imply that after the new Freebies plan takes effect automatically on 3rd Feb. 2019, the *124*2# command will work properly.

Meanwhile I wanted to explore ways to simply switch off BSNL Mobile SIM Internet access on my LYF phone. [I have BSNL landline broadband as my main Internet Service Provider and so I can manage without Internet on my smartphone for a day or two OR I can use Jio Mobile Internet on the Jio SIM on my dual SIM phone, by purchasing a short term plan. As of now the Jio main plan has expired.] I switched off BSNL Mobile SIM Internet access by switching off Data for BSNL SIM. So now I think there is no possibility of automatic usage of the Internet by my LYF phone using BSNL SIM.

What I will do is check on 3rd Feb. 2019 by using *124*2# command whether I get correctly extended validity for STV to early May 2019 or not. If I get the correct STV validity (freebie validity) extension, then I will switch on Data access for BSNL SIM. Otherwise I will have to contact customer care and understand why the freebie extenstion is not showing in my *124*2# command result.

This way, I protect my BSNL Mobile main balance of Rs. 94.1851 from being drained by automatic downloads from apps.

Around 6 to 7 PM today (1st Feb. 2019), I took screenshots of the above command results, and later cropped the screenshot to have only the result message. They are given below.

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Above pic gives result of *123# on 1st Feb. 2019

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Above pic gives result of *124*2# on 1st Feb. 2019

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