Airtel Open Network: Not much help for users yet

This article has been modified.

Airtel launched its Open Network service with much fanfare recently. Since I have been an Airtel subscriber for long and had been facing issues with voice calls at home since upgrading to a 4G SIM, I thought of trying it out.

One can access the app on or on the myAirtel app. Opening the app, I clicked on the Open Network link and was directed to the website on the browser. At home, the phone’s GPS wasn’t able to pinpoint the location and so I had to manually input the PIN code. The app reported that I had excellent voice and data quality, when in reality, voice coverage is iffy. Separately, I logged on to the website on the PC, and again, got the same result. I repeated the exercise at various other locations and other phones, but got the same result. On the myAirtel app, one can also ask for a snapshot of network coverage via email, but it takes time. The reality, though was, for one entire morning, I was unable to connect to a single number using my Airtel number; my wife, who is also an Airtel subscriber, faced the same problem. Yet, Open Network reported we had excellent voice coverage. It also reported excellent data coverage, which in fact, was true.

Airtel says on the website and the app that it needs its customers’ help in making its service better, thus it has listed the number of 2G and 3G/4G towers it has in that area. Now, I’d like to help if it improves my service and so I clicked on the link to report issues. After describing a few basic troubleshooting steps, I was again directed to speak to an advisor. Now, if I could make top-quality voice calls, why would I need to report an issue?

While this initiative, part of Airtel’s Project Leap network transformation programme, could be a step in the right direction, it would help if we could report issues both by calling as well as email etc. Also, there are a few apps available to measure signal strength and they seemed more accurate in the week or so I used Open Network. Overall, Airtel’s Open Network could help its customers only if it made reporting issues more intuitive.

A clarification

The review "Many Gaps in Airtel network app", published in Business Standard on June 27, failed to mention the fact that the app is not authorised by Airtel. We stand corrected. The article has been amended to reflect the changes.

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