Dissecting my Airtel bills

My monthly postpaid mobile bills have been in the Rs 2,000 – Rs 3,000 range for some time now, and I spent a few hours dissecting them yesterday.

Page 3 had the good stuff. It’s a little hard to figure out, but what the last 2 columns say is that most of my spend is offset by discounts.

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What’s not getting offset are outgoing roaming calls. Followed by calls to local landlines. For all practical purposes, that’s the only thing that counts in this bill. Everything else is close enough to zero.

It took me some time to figure out that Airtel postpaid has something called myPlan. Based on your plan, you get set of “myPacks” or discounts. That determines your final bill. And it turns out that I was barely using my quota in some areas – specifically data. I had 3GB of data available. I was typically using 200MB – 500MB. The last 2 columns on page 2 show the usage of myPacks.


Clearly, I can do with less data, less SMS, less local mobile, and perhaps less STD mobile. I might need more outgoing roaming, but that’s about it. This means I need fewer myPacks. So I was able to switch to the Rs 799 plan from the Rs 999 plan, while simultaneously increasing the number of free outgoing roaming calls I can make.

There seems to be no myPack for incoming roaming, so I’m actually better off calling people if I’m travelling, rather than receiving calls!

The rest of the bill is a treasure-trove of data, listing every call and every pulse of data connection. I only wish it also had the location of the calls, and were available as CSV files.