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Old 8th August 2011, 12:48   #1
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Angry Is Airtel Nationalised?

I feel they have been Nationalised because their service is no better than a government organisation. In other words, zero competence and zero accountability.

I have been using Airtel fixed line and broadband since 2005, in fact I have multiple accounts. Until this year (2011), I have rarely had any serious problems or issues. I have had experiences where the technicians have showed up in 10 minutes after I called. Few times when it took time, they have responded quickly after I escalated the matter strongly. I could say I was a very satisfied customer for 6 years.

However, everything changed in the past few weeks. I have been having severe issues in getting the right plan in my Manipal Airtel fixedline/broadband account. But this thread is not about that. In this thread I want to discuss what is happening with my Bangalore Airtel fixed line account.

I have an Airtel fixed-line/broadband account in Bangalore which I use for telecommuting. This has multiple static IP addresses to enable me to remain in permanent VPN with all my office locations. Apart from monthly charges, I also pay annual charges of static IP addresses.

Last month I moved from one apartment to another within the same building. In order to transfer my Airtel number, they have to move the wire from one jack to another jack in the switchbox in the basement. The physical effort will take no more than a minute. Trusting Airtel to transfer the line in matter of days, I called Airtel service just before the move. That is when I got the first shock.

I was told they are undergoing some kind of software upgrade, therefore no change will be done until July 21st, and the processing of my change request may take up to 22 days. No amount of pleading had any effect on making it quicker. Therefore, I requested the old apartment owner to wait another week before I handed over the apartment. I moved to the new apartment that week, but kept visiting the old apartment to access Internet, so that I can continue to work. After July 21st nothing happen. I was told it might take few more days. Dejected, I handed over the old apartment keys on July 23rd, and lost access to Airtel fixed line and broadband.

Since I couldn't work from Bangalore anymore, I drove back to my Manipal office hoping this whole fiasco will be behind me when I come back after 2 weeks. For another week, nothing happened. I had a sinking feeling when I called and found that they still are giving out the same old excuse of software upgrade. Every time I called last week, I was told it will happen by August 8th.

Today is August 8th and nothing has happened. And I am in Bangalore. When I called today I was told it will take few more days due to software upgrade. When I demanded to talk to a manager, I was told he will call me back in 1 hour, which didn't happen.

All they need to do is switch the wire from one jack to another in the basement switchboard. And they are unable to execute this simple task even after 24 days. If I was an uncivilized man, I would have just forced open their switchbox in the basement and made the switch myself. But being a law abiding citizen, I can't stoop to that.

Meanwhile, I had applied for a BSNL centrex line for my new apartment, they gave me a new connection in just 10 days. In other words, now Airtel customer service is lot worse than BSNL.

Right now I am using a Tata Proton+ USB based Internet which is almost 10 times slower at my location compared Airtel broadband. I can't use this to connect to my office on permanent VPN. My productivity is really down because of this.
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Old 8th August 2011, 12:59   #2
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Default re: Is Airtel Nationalised?

Samurai, although it wont be of any comfort to you, a colleague of mine is also facing the same software upgrade problem for shifting his landline and broadband.
He has also been running after them for more than a month now.
Maybe the problem is universal w.r.t. airtel and they are just facing an upgrade gone horribly wrong.
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Old 8th August 2011, 13:27   #3
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Default re: Is Airtel Nationalised?

Amitoj, it is not just that. I called again since the promised call from manager didn't happen. As I started explaining the issue to the customer dis-service executive, he hung up the call. May be they have flagged my account as irate customer?

I had never expected Airtel customer service to stoop this low. Now they are extremely unaccountable. As a techie I can understand technical nightmares. But it is the handling of the issue and management of the customer woes that is shocking to me.
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Old 8th August 2011, 13:28   #4
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Default re: Is Airtel Nationalised?

Quote:
Originally Posted by amitoj View Post
Maybe the problem is universal w.r.t. airtel and they are just facing an upgrade gone horribly wrong.

Although you maybe right about the upgrade gone wrong, I doubt it to be true anymore because I have a service request number filed in February 2011 and it still has not been resolved. The reason was the same - System Upgrade.

Final solution to my woes - I dropped the Airtel line and shifted to Reliance. Not sure if Reliance is nationalised.

Last edited by Xryder : 8th August 2011 at 13:29.
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Old 8th August 2011, 13:53   #5
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Default re: Is Airtel Nationalised?

No nationalization, but they have announced that they are pulling out of fixed phones. So expect progressively poor response and service. It is a pity since it leaves only Reliance to take on the might of BSNL/MTNL.
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Old 8th August 2011, 14:03   #6
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I am seriously considering alternatives now. I can't have my business at the mercy of incompetent companies like Airtel. Billing problems are one thing, one can take time resolving it since the service will be active. But in my case, while they are snoring over their desktops, I have no service. And I am sure they will be billing for the month as usual.

Only BSNL has similar service (ADSL + static IP), but their plans are nowhere as good as Airtel. Besides, I don't think BSNL will react any faster to service requests.

I have heard good things about Tata Docomo, but USB or Wifi based service may not work with my Juniper firewall/VPN setup. Don't think they can give static IP.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sgiitk View Post
No nationalization, but they have announced that they are pulling out of fixed phones. So expect progressively poor response and service. It is a pity since it leaves only Reliance to take on the might of BSNL/MTNL.
Oh, I didn't know that. This means it is time to bolt out of Airtel broadband stable.

Last edited by Samurai : 8th August 2011 at 14:05.
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Old 8th August 2011, 14:16   #7
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Default re: Is Airtel Nationalised?

@Samurai, I am on the same boat, too! I have a open shifting request since almost a month now. Few days back one of their executive called me up and gave me my new fixed line number! When I asked, when would the actual shift happen, she answered 6th August. Today is 8th and still nothing happened!

I want to change my broadband provider but apparently there's none available other than BSNL. It is strange, considering that at least in Bengaluru, one expects all the operators to be present across the length and breadth of the city!

This same attitude of Airtel forced me to shift my mobile connection.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sgiitk View Post
No nationalization, but they have announced that they are pulling out of fixed phones. So expect progressively poor response and service. It is a pity since it leaves only Reliance to take on the might of BSNL/MTNL.
No, they are not pulling out of fixed phones. But they are merging this division with their mobile phones division.

Last edited by safari_lover : 8th August 2011 at 14:18.
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Old 8th August 2011, 14:45   #8
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Default re: Is Airtel Nationalised?

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Originally Posted by sgiitk View Post
No nationalization, but they have announced that they are pulling out of fixed phones.
Wow. How do they plan to provide a DSL connection without a phone line? or are they bunking broadband?
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Old 8th August 2011, 14:56   #9
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Default re: Is Airtel Nationalised?

When they came to install the fixed landline, they were conveniently out of stock with the handsets. Promised me one within 15 days. I call them up after a month they tell em sir, new stock came but it has since run out. You will get yours in another 15 days when the new stock comes in. Well it has been 4 months now!
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Old 8th August 2011, 14:57   #10
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Default re: Is Airtel Nationalised?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Samurai View Post
...Besides, I don't think BSNL will react any faster to service requests...
Why do you assume BSNL has bad service? Let me narrate one of my many pleasant experiences.

A couple of years ago, I shifted to a different apartment. This being a newly constructed building, BSNL underground cabling had not been done from their main switch to the building. Being an existing customer, I requested for a shift of telephone. I was told that there is no underground cabling in the building and it will take some time to do the same. We gave it a couple of weeks and then met the Principle GM, BSNL. The cabling was done within two days.

The point is not that it took the Principle GM's intervention to get the work done. The point is that with BSNL, work gets done. I doubt meeting the head of AirTel would have solved a problem like mine in this short a time.

I have been a customer of BSNL since forever. No complaint resolution has taken more than 24 hours. Ever.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sgiitk View Post
...It is a pity since it leaves only Reliance to take on the might of BSNL/MTNL.
It is not a pity. Remember it was BSNL who first offered the One India plan which got every other telecom service provider to start dropping their call rates faster than they dropped their trousers in front of their mistresses. If rural India is connected today, it is because BSNL exists in those regions which private companies never venture into citing lack of profitability.

I have travelled to the remotest regions in Ladakh. My Cellone phone has had connectivity where nothing else did. Heck, even GPRS worked well enough to allow me to use Google Maps.

PS: I am not saying other telecom companies are rubbish. To each their own. But I would have been happy if people had researched facts for themselves before lambasting a PSU simply on hearsay.
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Old 8th August 2011, 15:04   #11
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Default re: Is Airtel Nationalised?

I took Airtel new connection on 20th July. Outgoing facility is not still enabled till now, they are telling some server shifting and give new date every day.
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Old 8th August 2011, 15:16   #12
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Default re: Is Airtel Nationalised?

It is a pity to learn that Airtel service is going to dogs. However, as regards BSNL, I've had my own share of issues.

I've been holding a BSNL landline for the past 2 decades, and had a Broadband account for 5 years.. However, whenever I called them to attend to a problem, they were very slow to respond--it would take them 2 or 3 days to rectify a problem. I gave up my BB connection only because of this issue. It would take my a dozen calls to different people to get someone's attention.

On many occasions, I had to shelve my work-from-home plan for the day, as I felt that only God knows when BSNL would settle the issue. Such issues would occur 2 or 3 times a year.

I've now shifted to Beam Cable, which has so far been good and reliable.

I agree that for remote areas, BSNL is the best option, as only a government provider would cater to no-profit areas.

Last edited by vnabhi : 8th August 2011 at 15:17.
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Old 8th August 2011, 15:25   #13
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Default re: Is Airtel Nationalised?

Quote:
Originally Posted by safari_lover View Post
No, they are not pulling out of fixed phones. But they are merging this division with their mobile phones division.
So there is some hope. the current disturbance can possibly be attributed to the merger. Demoralisation must be high, since they will be getting rid of some jobs.

This may make sense since in an integrated scenario (Post 4G) the distinction between wire & wireless become increasingly meaningless.
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Old 8th August 2011, 15:26   #14
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Default re: Is Airtel Nationalised?

Similar thing happened to me. When i shifted to my new house in malleswaram, i wanted a broadband connection. I was using Reliance NetConnect but was unhappy with the speed.
The Airtel Relation Ship centre was a couple of roads behind my house. I went there to apply for a broadband connection. The guy at the counter asked some folks and told me 'there is no coverage in your place'. Heck, this was about 200 meters from their relationship centre!

I applied through phone for Airtel again. This time, some person from Airtel visited by house and told me personally that Airtel coverage is present. So i filled up the application and handed over 500 rupees check.

I waited for nearly 2 weeks. When i finally called after 2 week, they told me that their systems are being upgraded and i will get my connection shortly. But after 3-4 weeks, i get an sms saying that internet coverage is not there in my place!

So i applied for a BSNL connection from their website. Same day someone called me and took the documents. 2 days later the phone was up and running. 4 days later the internet was up. Way to go BSNL!

Last edited by GTO : 10th August 2011 at 19:24. Reason: Best to keep the language as clean as possible on Team-BHP. Thanks
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Old 8th August 2011, 15:35   #15
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Default re: Is Airtel Nationalised?

Airtel has no plans of shifting out of broadband / lease line business.
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