Nov 6, 2011

Interconnectivity issues between Idea 3G and Vodafone

This is a post about an interesting issue that I was facing since last 3 months or so. This involved interconnectivity issues between Idea and Vodafone. I wrote several complaints to the customer care teams of both the service providers, separately and jointly as well. No solution was found and both the service providers were saying that the problem is with the other network. But at last, I had to identify the problem on my own. The problem is surely from Idea's end. Now that the problem is identified, I have informed Idea Customer Care and now its up to them to fix it. 

I am having two postpaid mobile connections. One is from Idea Maharashtra which is used by my wife and another one is from Vodafone Maharashtra that is used by me. As an example in this post, lets assume that Idea numbers are in series I1, I2, I3 and so on and similarly Vodafone series is V1, V2, V3 and so on. 

The problem that I noticed first was not receiving incoming SMS on Idea number from Vodafone number. So my wife was not getting any SMS from me. This means that I1 was not getting incoming SMS from V1, V2, V3 etc.

But V1, V2 and V3 were able to send SMS to I2, I3 etc. So it was logical that the problem was with I1 i.e. Idea number and hence complaint was lodged with Idea. They checked everything, refreshed the services and then informed me that the problem might be from Vodafone's end. 

Then the complaint was lodged with Vodafone using number V1. They also checked everything. During the calls from network team, they put the number V1 on server for testing and asked me to send SMS to I1. That SMS was not hitting Vodafone's server at all. So the confusion increased and I guessed that the problem might be from Vodafone, since the SMS is not hitting their server. So I kept on following it up with Vodafone. The issue remained unresolved from both the service providers. 

Then one interesting thing happened. My wife travelled out of Nagpur for a couple of days. As soon as she left Nagpur, she started receiving SMS on her Idea number I1 from my Vodafone number V1 and from V2 and V3 as well. It was then the problem got clicked in my mind. In Nagpur, she was always on Idea 3G network. But outside Nagpur, I1 got switched to 2G network and she started receiving messages. When she came back to Nagpur, I tested the same to reconfirm by putting her cell on UMTS (3G) and GSM (2G) modes. So the problem now identified is that Idea 3G number is not receiving any incoming SMS from Vodafone numbers (on 3G and 2G as well). 

I have informed the Idea Customer Care team with these details and hoping them to fix the issue, since the problem is identified now. 

Another interconnectivity issue is there between Idea 3G and Vodafone 3G. The above mentioned Idea number I1 is unable to receive video calls from Vodafone number V1 and so on. Video Calls are possible from I1 to V1, but not from V1 to I1. I had complained the same with Vodafone. Their network department called me and the executive gave me his mobile number (say V4) and Video call was successful from V1 to V4. So again the logical interpretation is that there are some issues of interconnectivity between Idea 3 and Vodafone and they are from Idea's end. Idea 3G is somehow blocking incoming SMS and incoming Video Calls from Vodafone. 

Both the issues of incoming SMS and Video Calls are reported to Idea for fixing it and to Vodafone for their information.


  1. Pl. Provide solution to this problem once you get it. My view is that you can change the service provider from Idea to vodafone.

  2. Hi Mohan,

    Till now, there is no solution to this problem. In fact, I won't be able to post any solution to this problem. I have only identified the problem in my case. Its upto the mobile company to fix the same. The purpose of the post is to provide the work around for those facing the similar problem.

    Regarding porting my Idea number to Vodafone, I had given a thought for that earlier. But the main problem here is Vodafone's 3G network coverage is very poor in Nagpur. Since March 2011, the day when 3G was launched in Nagpur, I am following up on that issue with Vodafone. I get 5% to 10% 3G signal strength at my home and around 30% to 40% on an average everywhere in Nagpur. Whereas Idea's 3G signal strength is always more than 90%. So if at all I need to port, then I will have to port both the numbers to some different 3G provider like Docomo.
    These mobile companies have paid huge licence fees in 3G auction. I wonder how would they be recovering that with poor 3G networks. If the problems persist, I will switch back to 2G. Vodafone offers decent internet speed on 2G as well. Only Video Calling won't be possible on 2G but that is not that important.

  3. The main thing is that the customer care people with service providers are mostly dumb. For any problem, I always prefer to complain via email and I send quite elaborative and unambiguous emails. I also send them the complete details, like nature of problem, alternate contact number, time when the problem occurs, nearest landmark etc. Still they don't read the mail completely and call back to know what the exact problem is.

    For the above mentioned issue, I had mailed Idea Customer Care specifically that it pertains to incoming SMS from Vodafone. In reply to that they sent me a pre defined template which asked me for more details about problems in making outgoing calls. So the problem was with incoming SMS and they were asking me details for problems in outgoing calls.

    Moral of the story is if you have to get the best possible service from your service provider, you yourself have to be knowledgeable about the tariffs, value added services, network issues and your rights etc. If you are not, then you need to do some research and then you can pin point the problem to them. I had do the same in case of Reliance Broadband+ as well. See here for details

    At times you may need to escalate your complaint to the TRAI nodal officer as well.

  4. Idea again mailed that the issue is from Vodafone's end. When I mailed them again that since the messages are getting delivered on Idea 2G and not on Idea 3G, they again took the complaint. Then Idea network team member called me and confirmed that there are issues in Idea 3G connectivity with Vodafone for SMS and Video calls and Idea is working on the same. He also said that there are lots of Idea customers who are facing this problem.


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