Airtel CEO Gopal Vittal lists steps taken to sustain network experience amid Covid-19 lockdown

Airtel CEO Gopal Vittal on Monday wrote a letter to customers to highlight the steps the operator is taking amid the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown. In his letter, he touched upon issues relating to bandwidth, operational redundancy, self care and partner alignment.

On users working remotely, Vittal wrote, “We understand that your network needs would evolve during this difficult time, as you work from home. We have taken several measures to improve your experience – from accelerating our roll outs, upgrading quality of service where possible and advancing our investments to meet your requirements.”

Vittal said that the company has a full-fledged contingency plan to deal with any event, including if it comes to quarantining any of its important Network Operating Centers, Call Centers, etc.

“We have enabled each of these locations to operate in a distributed as well as virtual way. Every team has also been broken into two so that we can reduce the number of people on a site in order to make the workplace safer, and in turn continue to serve your network needs,” he added.

Vittal’s message comes at a time when various state governments have directed lockdowns in a bid to contain covid-19 outbreak in the country. Private firms have asked their employees to work from home.

With more users working remotely and staying home as per the lockdown, the internet infrastructure may see more load than usual. Industry body COAI, which represents operators such as Airtel and Vodafone Idea, on Sunday asked the telecom department and OTT platforms such as Netflix and Hotstar to make changes in streaming quality to reduce the burden.

Prior to COAI’s letter, Airtel had said the operator could serve the “evolving needs of customers.”

“Airtel has built a future ready and highly secure network with adequate capacity to serve the evolving needs of our customers. Given our massive investments in pan India 4G presence, a robust national oc fiber and global submarine cable footprint along with Data Centers, there is sufficient capacity to provide bandwidth on demand to our retail and enterprise customers,” an Airtel spokesperson told Hindustan Times.

That said, several users on Monday took to Twitter to report slow internet speeds from Airtel.

Rival Reliance Jio has been offering new schemes and offers for users working from home. The operator on Monday launched a new Rs 251 recharge plan for work from home users. Under the plan, users get 2GB data per day for 51 days. It also launched new 4G data vouchers to offer double data.