“Give me a missed call when you are leaving the house and I will see you there.” Doesn’t this sound familiar?
Late Dhirubhai Ambani tried his best to ensure that the call rates remain the cheapest but then why pay for something when you can get it for free? We Indians, seem to have found something that unites us with the invention of the absolute zero. We never let go of an opportunity to save money on our calls, and the best way to do this? Missed calls. This is a convenient method to convey a mutually understood message, and saves cash too!
The Great Indian Missed Call, the weapon of choice for perpetually broke pre-paid users like students and migrant labourers, is turning out to be a Rs.500-crore business opportunity for banks, FMCG majors, even political parties.
While individual consumers, especially of the pre-paid variety (96% of India’s 900 million mobile user base) give a missed call to pass on mundane objective information like ‘Have reached destination’, or ‘Call me back,’ companies use this as a kind of Morse Code for customer feedback, saving millions of rupees in call-centre charges and telephone bills.
What could be the reason behind the tendency of the Indian populace to give missed calls? With the Telecom giants slashing rates as days go by and handsets getting cheaper, owning a mobile phone is not a distant dream for many. As recently reported , about 40 percent of the future 250 million Indian wireless subscribers will be from the rural areas. This clearly signifies that India’s booming mobile telephony sector will continue its steady upward march with a major share of its growth originating from the rural areas.
From Anna Hazare, Amir Khan, the IPL to our very own Autowala, “giving a missed call” has become a common phrase amongst people, and the habit may soon replace our good old SMS.
Here are the top 10 reasons why a missed call is given :-
1) To convey a short message
2) Requesting a callback
3) To communicate with Auto/Cab Drivers
3) To subscribe to an offer
4) To register a vote for an online poll
5) Balance Enquiry
6) COD Verification
7) To show support towards a social cause
8) To register a phone number to be saved
9) To support your IPL Team
10) Attendance (Yes!)
I happened to strike a conversation with my 12-year-old cousin who has a phone now:
“We talk every week and say practically the same things to each other.
From now, I’ll just give you a missed call. One ring means my health is fine. Two rings mean the studies, too, are going well.And three means you still haven’t gotten me the cricket bat you promised. On the fourth ring, please take the call because it means there’s something urgent to talk.”
Ha! How smart is that?
The habit seems to be catching up fast.
On the flipside, it may make you give a missed call to the fire brigade if the house is on fire.
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