First a little background – I have used Airtel Call Home for calling India in the past and generally like their voice quality. They had also ran great introductory offers when they started which gave good run for the money to Reliance India Call – gold standard in India calling. Competition has been good in this market and has pushed the prices down considering it used to be 65-70 cents a minute when I came to US in 1999.

Now to Airtel’s recent claim of 1 cents / minute call. How would you feel if you went to a shop for buying a pair of shoes and saw on display “Shoes for only $100” but later on realize the shoes are infact 66 % more i.e. they are really $166 not $100. This is what Airtel is doing with their 1 cents a minute promotion. Best is the use of phrase like “Rental Value”. If I buy a card for $10, $3.99 is deducted to provide “Rental Value” I wonder what value does the customer drives from this. Why did they choose to rephrase a charge as value. Is customer that dumb. And what was wrong with selling minutes for 1.66 cents per minute? It is still the lowest price I have seen in the Tier 1 India Calling card business and is half the price of what I am paying right now. By trying to mislead customers Airtel is not gonna earn TLC from customers.