Telecom sector leads consumer complaints – Airtel Tops!


Bharti Airtel was quick enough to spot the rising clutter of service providers in the Indian telecom industry and diversify into untapped African markets. However, questions have been raised whether the company has compromised on the service front with its deteriorating delivery quality at the home turf, in its bid to spread far-and-fast.

Even the latest government data from the National Consumer Helpline (NCH) supports the above viewpoint indicating that the Indian telecom giant has largest number of consumer complaints registered against it – to be specific, 2001 complaint calls during March 2010 and February 2011.

However, if the version of India’s largest telecommunications company is to be believed, the number of complaints referred above is mere 0.00126% of their active customer base – which is in declining trend in the number of complaints over the period of time vis-à-vis growth of subscriber base.


But, then, do I smell something fishy about the whole telecom sector itself? Even other telecom operators, such as BSNL (1986 complaints) and Reliance Communications (1792), do not lag much behind in terms of calls received for redressal of consumer complaints with the NCH.

Other leading companies that topped the charts for portending the bad omen of consumer complaints include state-owned Indian Oil (1940), Nokia India (1616), Samsung India (1560), SBI (912), BPCL (872), LIC (626) and ICICI Bank (569).

Zooming into NCH’s complaint data for the month of April 2011, the telecom sector contributed a lion-share of 19% of the total 10,170 calls; followed by ‘Products’, ‘LPG’, ‘Banking’ and ‘Insurance’ registering between 16%-5% calls.

Going a little backward to the data on March 2011, Delhi accounted for almost a third (28.57%) of the complaint calls in respect of top five States during the said period, followed by UP (15.55%), Maharashtra (12.26%), Rajasthan (8.26%) and Haryana (8.06%).

In a related story, the corporate world is increasingly walking the socially connective way to woo, satiate and interact with its customers and redress their complaints. A better part of the India Inc has customer service support on Web-based alternative communication channels such as Facebook and/or Twitter networks.

Moreover, a new research by Ovum provides that more and more Indian consumers (40%) are turning to social media as a viable alternative to the phone for customer service from a company. However, less than half of them used social media platform to complain about bad service or a faulty product. The remaining preferred a traditional channel of phone call for complaint redressal.

Some of the Corporate India’s Twitter handles

  • Bharti Airtel : @Airtel_Presence
  • Vodafone : @VodafoneIN
  • Reliance Com : @reliancemobile
  • HDFC Bank : @HDFC_Bank
  • ICICI Bank : @ICICIBank_Care
  • Infosys Technologies : @Infosys
  • Tata Docomo : @tatadocomo
  • Kingfisher Airlines : @flykingfisher
  • Jet Airways : @jetairways

Believe me, some of the above corporate tweet handles are really humble and friendly in interaction :)

  1. Rajeev Kumar says

    I do agree with that many complaints in consumer forums are about the telecom companies. But this is not necessary that only Airtel is at top, many other companies like Reliance, Idea also have so many complaints. My friend also have a complaint about Airtel, he complain on and it resolve in some time.

  2. Siddharth Karia says

    It's sad, though. Because until a short time ago, I thought Airtel was always tops with customer service. Not many service complaints, whatever I did have was resolved in record turnaround time. But now, no one at their call centers seems to have any idea what they're doing, most of them don't understand a single word of English, even the words related to telecom. In my experience, as of now, Vodafone has the best customer support of all the operators.

  3. Rahul Saun says

    I purchased a post paid number. its been three long days I haven't heard anything from any one.. purchased number for official use. paid 500 rs now I cant even cancel it. airtel is a big bloody trap liars I have been waiting for this bloody number to get activated and my black berry services to get activated so that I can keep uptodate with the official mails guess what I am fed up with your lousy processing I thought airtel would be good but honestly pathetic unprofessional.keep 500 rs with u I don't care now I don't need this sim as well. I have been using vodafone prepaid for quite some time and am going to opt for a vodafone postpaid.. airtel is sheer loser. am annoyed big time. the number which they gave me was 9971899994 , my name is rahul singh saun and for god sake stop giving runaround to people who are interested in your company. utterly dissapointed. I was asked to call this number 9910007008 I spoke with him and another run around.

  4. Krishna Kumar says

    Hi, I completely agree with you. If you want to file a complaint you can go to TRAI but earlier the trend was to go to Consumer Forum for getting your disputes resolved and that to before the Supreme Courts judgement in the year of 2009 and it was clearly stated that the Consumer Forums will not entertain any kind of telecom disputes but we at Akosha went ahead and conducted a survey and it was found out that only 33% of the District Forums are rejecting the complaints and rest are still accepting it. You can find the full article <a href=""%5DMess of Telecom complaints in India. Do share your thoughts on the article.

  5. G Vishnu Vardhan Reddy says

    I had a very bad xp vth airtel though I put 5 mails to the nodal officers, it has become useless and that is when I knew even those people lie to the customers however thanx to mnp n I went for MNP after bearing airtel for 5 years.

  6. Parashar Shah says

    Nice info… When I had an issue with Airtel and I had also tried @airtel_in.

  7. Amit says

    Really Airtel tops? I would think that Tata and Reliance would share the honours.

    1. Viral says


      I guess, the other telecom operators are almost there to share the honors. It is just that somebody has to take the lead… and who better than the leader itself – Airtel :)

  8. Abhijit says

    Telco’s is not plural. However, Telco has been used as a proper noun; that cannot have an apostrophe (Telco’s). Better 2 write in passive and use telecom company…e.g.

    However, if the version of India’s largest telecommunications company is to be believed…………………….

  9. Winston Smith says

    “However, if India’s largest Telco’s reported” Use of the apostrophe is used incorrectly here to notify plural. Would the write take care of this?
    I like your articles otherwise…

    1. Sriram Vadlamani says

      Don’t you mean ‘writer’ in the sentence “Would the write take care of this?”

      1. dreamz2achieve says

        LOL :)

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