Improving Airtel’s Open Network and What’s next for Network Infrastructure Openness in India?

In June, we saw the launch of Airtel’s Open Network where Airtel opened up their network information for public consumption. Undoubtedly, this was a bold move given the flak telcos receive for poor internet speeds, call drops etc. What followed was a full-blown media campaign encouraging user feedback.
AIrtel Open NEtwork
In addition to appreciating Airtel’s openness, users all over the country also started reporting issues which received responses from Airtel.
Airtel open network response
This particular response indicates that Airtel was fairly quick in initiating a survey at the proposed location. Based on our interaction with Airtel’s representatives, we understand that Airtel is gaining some good insights about user expectations through Open Network. That’s the beauty of any crowdsourcing efforts – you get quality feedback!

Improving Open Network Project

We believe, Airtel would be moving ahead in a phased manner when it comes to actual network improvements. Though any telco would understand the importance of reliable connectivity, it’s always not easy to justify massive investments. Therefore, factors like projected ARPU from a location would still matter. This is where small cells and signal boosters can make a difference.Wherever, network optimization is involved, customers can expect improvements in shorter timeframes.

Further, we suggest that Airtel uses the insights gained through Open Network to gauge the demand in less covered areas. This can be an opportunity – Challenging BSNL’s Wired Broadband Monopoly could drive next round of Growth for Wireless Providers.

On improving the Open Network website, Airtel could allow users to submit a report right from the website. We don’t understand the rationale for asking a user to call Airtel!

What the FAQs show?


What actually happens?

Though one drops a pin and tries to report an issue, the reporting option actually asks the user to call Airtel. This could be easily avoided. With almost everyone being familiar with Google Maps, Airtel can allow users to report issues directly from the pin.



The way Forward

Globally telecom operators have always tried providing network maps with some functionality. The fact holds true even for India (Eg. MTS). In the UK, telecom regulator Ofcom offers the facility to verify network coverage of multiple operators.


Now that TRAI has launched own speed test app, even India can have a website similar to Ofcom’s for checking coverage and wireless / wired broadband speeds.

T-Mobile USA’s network coverage map highlights verified coverage based on customer data. This is something which even Airtel could emulate by adding the feature in the app.


With Airtel having paved the way for network transparency through Open Network initiative, do you think other operators in India would follow a similar approach? Let us know via comments or tweet to me @gischethans.

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17 Comments on "Improving Airtel’s Open Network and What’s next for Network Infrastructure Openness in India?"


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S Gopal
July 12, 2016 1:31 pm 1:31 PM

Through Vodafone India’s website one could view their 2G and 3G/4G signal strength in any locality in India albeit not the location of the nearest towers way back in 2013-14. What Airtel has done is not something completely new, it is a refined version of what Vodafone India had done a few years ago. It is a welcome step that Airtel has initiated this open network concept and hope others emulate Vodafone and Airtel and further refine this open network concept.

Sunny | Lucknow
July 11, 2016 5:21 pm 5:21 PM

They all are same, Open Network or not. People were saying BSNL has changed a lot, but I got this after raising a Pgportal complaint lol:

Yaqoob Ansari
July 11, 2016 12:10 pm 12:10 PM
In my area Airtel is not having any 2g/3g tower in radius of 3kms. Its taking signal from tower which is almost 5kms away from my area. And in my near by area An icon shows for the need of new tower to be installed (as Seen on their open network website) So I submitted request fir installation of new in my house or near my house. After submitting the required details, the next day I received a call for confirmation of the information I shared.They said a network team will the area I mentioned in next 15days. But it… Read more »
Ashish Maharashtra
July 12, 2016 12:23 pm 12:23 PM
Exactly bro being no1 operator they should have good coverage even in my case i receive 3g signal from a tower which is 2km away as in mah circle its on 2100 mhz i belive the coverage is internally poor they told me that we are installing the tower in your area even i checked on leap its showing upgrading they told me the over all process will be completed by 28 july so after that you will receive full 3g/4g coverage so waiting till 28 if still no signal then will definately port.Also there are many like me who… Read more »