Airtel Prepaid doesn’t get human

I have been trying to get Airtel to enable GPRS on my new handset today. Although Airtel has partnered the Big Blue to create its customer-focused services, it is nothing to write home to Armonk about.

Getting a response from Airtel should actually be simple, but they have a digital wall that prevents you from contacting someone human. What is really strange is that when you dial the regular call centre number, you are asked for a telephone password (what’s that for a pre-paid connection?) and ultimately, you are cut off before you reach an operator.

Then you dial the complaints number 198, and you are informed that for services, you have to dial 12138. The catch is that it costs you 50 paise for every 3 minutes. When you dial, you reach another IVRS, no solution, and hang on without human response (so what are you asked to pay for?)

All this obfuscation is replaced by remarkable efficiency when Airtel wants to collect, though, and their “Relationship Centres” seem to be oriented towards the company’s coffers rather than serving the customer.

In any case, since it is not easy to find the contact info for various Airtel pre-paid services, I am reproducing what came with my SIM card:

To know details on, do the following

Balance, Validity, Offer of the day, Hello tune and DND Dial toll free number *121#
Hello tune, GPRS, MMS Activation, and Deactivation Procedure Dial 171808 and 171707
Airtel Basic Info Dial 17111
Add on activation / deactivation / procedure / tariff Dial 12141
My Airtel and My Offer Dial 12131
Airtel Relationship Connect Details SMS “LOC” pincode too 171
Eligible Booster Packs SMS “Boost” to 405

If you want to make yourself heard Airtel are on Twitter It is a nice way to broadcast your complaints. And they cannot charge you for that. Meanwhile, there is someone who is really mad at Airtel and that entity is running this Say No To Airtel twitter account.

Follow me on Twitter @ and



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