Experience with ZONG’s IDEOS Android Handset
After the price reduction of the Zong’s Huawei IDEOS Android Froyo 2.2 handset in Pakistan everyone started looking at it, because it is obviously the most affordable handset with the latest version of Android. Last week, I bought the handset too so that I can have a look at it, use it and enjoy the android environment. Unfortunately, the handset sold by Zong is locked and can only be used on ZONG’s network.
At the time of purchasing the handset, I deposited Rs.500 balance too and thought it would be more than enough to spend a month. Zong also gives 8MB/month GPRS Internet usage free on the purchase of this handset, and later on the regular package price of GPRS is charged. I am a facebook and twitter-holic person so I connected to it and while I’m in office and home, IDEOS shifts to my local Wifi Internet and while I’m on the move then GPRS is used. I bought the handset on 23rd Feb. 2011 in afternoon and on 28th Feb. I thought lets check the balance. I was shocked to see, that I only had Rs.48 balance remaining. I never downloaded any song, video, youtube or even browsing, rather simply used to connect my IMs through Nimbuzz and my facebook & twitter from their apps. In just 4 days I had to bear the cost of almost Rs.450 just for the GPRS, Oh and I never called or SMS from the connection either.
I then figured out, that Android Froyo 2.2 handset runs many applications in the backend. If you signed in to your Facebook and synced the contact with it, then everytime you are browsing your contact list Internet is used. Same is the case with twitter, skype and gtalk. Plus the most traffic is consumed when you use the SPEAK feature of the keyboard to type. When I checked on the Zong’s eCare online billing details, I was shocked to see that I bought the connection on 23rd Feb evening and on 24th Feb 6am it started charging me for GPRS usage. The billing details on the ecare page is so confusing, I got no idea what does the “discount” column means and there is no where you can see how much data transfer was consumed. So either I was not given the free 8MB/GPRS or may be it consumed the 8MB within less than 12 hours.
I cannot blame ZONG for it either, because I am not sure myself that how the handset consumed this much traffic. I did try few applications later for task manager and has the ability to kill running processes on IDEOS. I found out that even if you close ‘HuaweiOnlineUpdates’ it starts again, similarly the ‘News’ widget which refreshes after a particular time (set by you). Facebook feed refresh and twitter timeline refresh all are using your GPRS heavily.
One thing that confused me more was, ZONG by default assigned me M9 package of 1.5. The package details are ‘M9 Plan Rate 1.50 | SMS 0.70 | Internet 11.0 paisas‘ but when I logged into the eCare customer information page it shows something different to me. It says ‘M9 Plan Rs 1.50 per min, Rs 0.70 per SMS, GPRS for 150 paisa‘. Now I have no idea, was I over billed or was it actually charged at correct rate.
If there was some problem in the billing then this is seriously bad, because they took away almost Rs.500 in 4 days which means within a month, Zong will recover the Rs.5000 discount on the handset they offered. I called the helpline after this and they said, sir smartphones have backend running processes which consume your Internet traffic, kindly subscribe to the GPRS packages with us which are on monthly basis plans.
Finally I decided to get my Huawei (Zong) Android handset unlocked so that I can use other networks on it too. For details on the unlocking it, please see my other post of unlocking Zong IDEOS u8150 handset in Pakistan.
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