Few months back, Anupam Saxena had reported that Airtel is killing off SmartBytes for mobile customers in Delhi. My first reaction to the story was hoping that they wouldn’t do this for Karnataka circle. SmartBytes was great for the rare occasion that you’d require burst data(for example: when travelling or when your home Internet is down) – if you run out of data cap(I detest the pittance of data cap we get, that’s another different story) head over to their SmartBytes website or use the Airtel app & do a top up for SmartBytes – and you get instant data cap upgrade for the billing cycle.

During our recent Leh trip, my wife Jo’s connection was close to hitting the data cap. Trying to top up using SmartBytes resulted in failure. I attributed this to us being on roaming and figure we could top up after being back in our home circle. Fast forward 12 days later, back in Bangalore, tried to top up and got the same message about SmartBytes not being available.

smartbytes-not-available

Called up Airtel customer care, and he confirmed that SmartBytes are indeed, no longer available for PostPaid customers and they’re only for Data card customers. When asked for alternatives, the Customer Care rep told me the alternatives are either to upgrade the data plan, or for ad-hoc purpose, opt for something called MBC – Mobile Broadband Charge. Essentially when you select this, you don’t pay to top up – rather the data limit for the billing cycle gets increased. And like SmartBytes, the unused data isn’t carried forward to the upcoming cycle. While this may seem similar to SmartBytes, the difference is that the MBC options are not as granular as SmartBytes and lot more expensive.

Anyway for now, I’ve put in a request for myPlan for Family plan. Seems to be exactly what I wanted. Word of advice: don’t go by the numbers mentioned on the demo link, they’re only indicative and not reflective of the actual numbers