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Tuesday, March 6, 2012


Airtel calls could not go through for much of this morning although some calls from other networks and international calls were able to terminate on Airtel. Calling from Airtel however, was another matter.

All signs point the problem to the newly deployed Airtel 3G network.

The reason calls could not be made apparently was because of problems within the Mobile Switching Centre - this is the modern day equivalent of the old telephone switches (PTSN) - which apparently could not route calls properly.

Typically, the (VLR) Visitor Location Register,  a table of active mobile users that have been detected by the network that day, and the Home Location Register (HLR), the database of all Airtel SIM card users should have the same information since the VLR is linked to the switching centre which regularly updates the HLR.

But for some reason, while signalling seems to have been working okay, the forwarding plane which in some networks is a table that has the addresses that the router needs to look up and forward the signal/message to was not.

By around 2PM it seems the problem had largely been dealt with.

That being said, it can only lead to one conclusion: That the problem was occasioned by the deployment of a 3G Core Network when the company announced its 3G rollout.

Because it cannot arbitrarily migrate to 3G when so many Airtel users are on 2G/GSM handsets, Airtel must have decided to support 2G in its 3G core network.

Many Mobile Switching Centres (MSS) allow for implementation of GSM.

Ericsson which is the company involved in this particular case, runs what it calls a MSC_S, from where it runs the control and bearer functionalities of the switching centre.

It is here where it must have implemented support for Airtel's 2G/GSM.

Most likely, this was a configuration issue - growing pains so to speak.

Of concern however is that it is here that also billing functions take place and with such downtimes and general confusion, subscribers who didn't complete calls could have been accidentally billed and others not billed.


  1. Lets hope they sort the mess once and forever. They really inconvenienced me today

  2. The company must have made big losses today.

  3. Airtel Digital tv is engaging in massive fraud. I smsed BUY to 54325 to get details of the connection. One executive called and after discussion paid Rs 999 for the connection. She gave me a transaction ID and said customer ID will be smsed in a couple hours. I never received it nor any serial code or activation code. Connection has not been given and it is now close to 2 weeks. Their customer service is so bad...they say they will take complaint but put you on hold and cut the call. Complaints are closed without taking action. When I call they ask for customer ID and I tell them I never received it. After 15 such calls I have thoroughly given up. They have absolutely no record of me paying the money but my credit card has been charged for the amount and I have transaction ID that they gave. I submit my complaint at consumer court i.e. and then mails to are never replied even I have contacted to the Nodal officer. This is a complete nightmare and I never expected this from Airtel. All in all they have cheated me of Rs 999 and they are not going to give connection. This is the most pathetic customer service experience I have had in my life. My sincere advise to anyone reading this, please please dont go for Airtel Digital tv.