I have been a loyal Airtel customer for close to three years and has been using Airtel data services like GPRS and EDGE from early on.
I had this Airtel unlimited GPRS pack for 98 for two years and was somewhat satisfied with the slow speed as it was a 2G thing. Paying 98 for Airtel GPRS was convenient given the reasonable speed and coverage it has around the country.
Come Airtel 3G and Airtel would keep sending me mails and messages to switch because it gave a speed of upto 2.1 MBps (around 800 kbps download) for slightly more money.
Lately, Airtel has been giving me headaches with it’s crappy speed (it claimed to offer 200 Kbps on edge, around 25 Kbps actual speed). I wrote them mails, called Airtel customer care and they would take their usual time and do, perhaps, nothing.
It seems Airtel works on a principle that the customer will anyway get fed up and stop bragging. That was what happened eventually in my case as well.
So I thought to switch to something fast even if I have to pay more for Airtel 3G.
I tracked down Airtel 3G tariffs in Delhi, chose a suitable 3G data plan, 450 for 600 mb, and thought that now I can relax and have a really good time.
But the day started very very bad. They have really pathetic network coverage and service and similarly pathetic customer satisfaction.
I wrote them a mail giving each detail they would want from my handset model to area and floor of my accommodation, place I work, my route to work, Airtel 3G coverage towers and their number and others.
Then one guy would call me and ask what’s the issue and when told he will say they are rectifying it. After two days another call that they have actually worked on the problem and I should do fine now. I replied that nothing happened the way that he should take credit of. And he said he will do more.
Nothing happens again and Airtel 3G service on my handset would be as it is.
0-2 towers on average
3 towers if you are feeling lucky
5 towers when you actually don’t need it
Call quality would substantially reduce
Airtel 3G and Airtel E signals will keep Switching on even when 3G is enabled
Most of the time 3G would just go away and EDGE network will keep smiling at your face
The speed which you get is not worth with Airtel 3G, you pay more to get worse service.
And what else even if I wish to change to my older Airtel GPRS 2GB plan for 98, I can’t do that because they have hiked the same to 198.
So in a nutshell, Airtel is not the company that I would recommend for good 3G experience. Rather go for anything else if you desire. Even MTNL would be a great choice. Vodafone is better as well.