The entry of Reliance Jio in the Indian mobile space has made the competition in the telecom sector stiffer, forcing all operators to pull their socks up. Companies are upgrading their infrastructure and offering attractive plans/services to keep the flock of their customers together. Latest in the series is India’s largest operator Bharti Airtel which has announced an investment of Rs.2,000 crores to enhance experience of its subscribers…

NEW DELHI, JULY 11, 2017: Bharti Airtel today announced “Project Next” — a digital innovation program aimed at transforming customer experience — where India’s largest mobile operator will invest Rs.2,000 crores over next three years. The company is aligning the project with government’s ‘Digital India’ programme by promising to transform Airtel into a truly digital innovation and service provider.

Under ‘Project Next’, Bharti Airtel has introduced three initiatives — “Postpaid promise”, “Next-gen Airtel Stores” and a new version of MyAirtel App. “At Airtel, everything that we do starts with our customers and we are obsessed about delivering a great experience to them. We look at the customer journey holistically and have identified 17 moments of truth. At each of these moments, our aspiration is to eliminate customer frustration and make the experience better via digital innovation. This is what we going to deliver through Project Next,” said Bharti Airtel CEO Managing Director and CEO (India and South Asia) Gopal Vittal.

For its postpaid customers, Airtel will offering ‘data roll over promise’,  ‘new family promise’ and ‘security ‘promise’. In “data roll over promise”, customers can accumulate their unused data up to 200 GB thereby ensuring zero data wastage for customers.

Similarly, the ‘new family promise program’ makes it possible for postpaid customers to share their data and and create a customized solutions for their family and can save up to 20% in bills. Customers can pool and share their data across all the family connections. Customers can also add Airtel prepaid connections without doing any paper work, just a click on my Airtel app.

Another initiative is “Airtel secure” which will protect customer’s device against accidental/liquid damage. The cost of insurance starts from Rs.49 for handset below Rs.18,000 and Rs.99 for phones pried above Rs.18,000. Customers can insure their device up to two years of the purchase.

Bharti Airtel is also redesigning across 2,500 stores in India which will be Next-gen stores conceptualized by the UK based company 8Inc. The stores will be completely digital and dynamic across 3 zones: share zone, create zone and experienced zone to make the entire customer experience digital, transparent, simple and interactive.

Airtel has also launched a new version of ‘My Airtel’ App which will make the entire customer experience real time. From change of plans to real time notifications to fulfillment of services and self care and customize plans, all can be done with a simple click of button.

According to Mr. Vittal, Airtel will come up with more initiatives for the prepaid customers in the next 18-20 months. Notably, in 2015, Airtel had announced an investment of Rs.60,000 crores under ‘Project Leap’ to expand and enhance its network. In last two years, the company has already setup 1.8-lakh base stations and sites.

On the issue of Airtel offering advanced VoLTE services, Mr. Vittal said the company was testing VoLTE in five cities including Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore and will roll out the service in the later part of the current calendar year. “We are working on our VoLTE. It is currently on trials in five cities. At some stage towards the later part of the year, we should be able to take VoLTE everywhere,” he said.

VoLTE or Voice over Long Term Evolution, allows telecom firms to offer both voice and data without switching between bands. It allows operators to provide a more efficient use of spectrum and eliminates the need to have voice on one network and data on another, besides unlocking the revenue potential and better quality of voice and data services. Reliance Jio is the only telecom operator in the country, at present, which is offering VoLTE. Apart from Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular have also announced plans to launch VoLTE soon.

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