Airtel customers can now check network quality online

A worker cleans a logo of Bharti Airtel at its zonal office building in Chandigarh
Bharti Airtel, the country’s largest telecom operator, said on Tuesday it would begin an online platform on Wednesday to make its entire mobile network information public.

The new interface will display Airtel’s mobile network coverage/signal strength across India, in addition to network site deployment status. Using geospatial tools and other technologies, it will allow customers to check if the Airtel mobile network in an area is excellent, good, moderate or non-existent, using a colour scheme.

It will also show the status of corresponding sites serving the area — existing, required, being upgraded or forcibly shut down. The interface, available on www.airtel.in/opennetwork and the myAirtel app, will also allow customers to report their network related issues in an easy fashion, said the company. Also, it said, customers could contact an Airtel call centre or walk into any of the Airtel Flagship Stores across the country to report network issues.

This ‘Open Network’ initiative is part of a Rs 60,000-crore Project Leap started in November 2015. The company says it aims to loop in customers to help improve network quality.

This follows the company’s recent decision to voluntarily implement a 1.5 per cent call drop rate versus the two per cent maximum prescribed by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai). The regulator has been going after telecom companies for poor network connectivity, leading to call drops and low voice quality. In three test drives at Delhi, Hyderabad and Bhopal, conducted by Trai, most operators failed to meet the call drop rate benchmark.

“Open Network is a paradigm shift in the way we engage with our customers. With this initiative, we are establishing complete transparency with regard to our mobile network and opening ourselves to customer scrutiny and feedback,” said Gopal Vittal, managing director for India and South Asia at Airtel. “Customers can now take charge of network issues and be a part of the solution, rather than waiting for it to happen.”

Adding: “Today, getting permissions to put up a network site is perhaps the biggest challenge in delivering a seamless experience to customers. We hope customers will actively come forward and help us make our network better.”

Airtel says it also plans a range of solutions to improve network experience inside buildings, such as small cells, indoor solutions, wi-fi hotspots and carrier aggregation technologies. Over the next three years, the company plans to deploy 100,000 such solutions, it said.

The company is also creating more network capacity through acquisition of additional spectrum and deployment of fibre optics. In the past two months, Airtel has acquired fourth-generation waveband technology from Aircel and Videocon.

"The company plans to cumulatively deploy 550,000 km of domestic & international fibre," it said.

According to the company, during 2015-16, it invested Rs 15,000 crores across India on 88,000 sites, the largest network deployment in the world outside of China.

OPEN INITIATIVE

  • The new interface will allow customers to check if the Airtel mobile network in an area is excellent, good, moderate or non-existent using a simple colour scheme

     
  • It will allow customers to report their network related issues in an easy fashion

     
  • Customers can also contact the Airtel call centre or walk into any of the Airtel Flagship Stores across the country to report their network-related issues

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