How Airtel and Jio are blocking websites in India

According to to a recent report published by Medianama, India is no longer using outdated systems to block websites, it is using ‘middleboxes’ to do it. 25 middleboxes have been traced to Airtel. Both the ISP giants are using Server Name Indications (SNI) to block websites. This is similar to the way China goes about blocking sites using the Encrypted SNI (ESNI) method.

 Both, Airtel and Jio are following directives laid down by the Department of Telecom (DoT). This means that 76% of all Internet users in India are conditioned by Airtel and Jio’s practices. Jio accounts for 52.26%, while Airtel accounts for 23.64% of all internet subscriptions in the country. This practice is making it easier for the government of India to erect the great firewall of India.

RBI Approves Payment Bank License For Bharti Airtel And Kotak Mahindra’s Joint Venture

Bharti Airtel and Kotak Mahindra had jointly applied for payment bank license through its subsidiary AMSL in 2011 and has now received it from Reserve Bank of India.

RBI has given a primary approval to 10 small finance banks and 11 payments banks who will launch operations later this year or early next year.

Airtel provides mobile money services under the brand name Airtel Money and had earlier proposed to convert the pre-paid payment instrument license into a Payments Bank license as per the guidelines prescribed by the Reserve bank of India.

With the license, Airtel now plans to increase the reach of its M Commerce Services. This move will help Kotak to reach out to the unbanked population and target the rural people.

Earlier in February, Kotak had picked up 19.9% stake in Airtel M Commerce for Rs 98.4 crore.

The Airtel 4G Girl Is Back, And The Internet Is Having A Laugh Riot

Sasha Chettri, the young lass with trimmed hair and the next-door-girl looks, who has become the poster girl of brand Airtel is back, promoting the ever-elusive 4G connection.

In the latest campaign, the 4G Girl, as she is widely known, is seen vacationing in remote locations with friends to find peace and escape glare, only to find that even if you leave Airtel 4G, Airtel 4G won’t leave you. But there is one problem; the internet isn’t buying it and as usual, there is a laugh riot going on everywhere, ripping into Airtel, its connection and the poor girl.

Take a look.

Bharti Airtel Leads The Wireless And Broadband Market In Q4 2015

The number of telephone subscribers in India increased from 1,035.18 million at the end of Nov-15 to 1,036.41 million at the end of Dec-15, thereby showing a monthly growth rate of 0.12%, according to TRAI.

The monthly growth rates of urban and rural subscription were 0.29% and -0.12% respectively during the month of Dec-15.

Wireless subscribers showed a monthly growth rate of 0.14% as the subscriber base increased from 1,009.46 million at the end of Nov-15 to 1,010.89 million at the end of Dec-15.

wireless subscriber

The Wireless Tele-density in India increased from 79.78 at the end of Nov-15 to 79.82 at the end of Dec-15.

The private access service providers held 91.48% market share of the wireless subscribers whereas BSNL and MTNL, the two PSUs access service providers, had only 8.52% market share. The graphical representation below clearly shows Bharti Airtel dominated the market in December followed by Vodafone while Government owned BSNL had a minimal share in the market.

pvt providers


In growth of wireless subscribers, Telenor and BSNL had the major market share. Kolkata service area recorded the highest growth rate in wireless subscribers during the month of Dec-15, whereas West Bengal service area showed maximum decline in subscriber base during the month.

growth wireless

In the month of Dec-15, a total of 7.31 million requests were received for MNP. With this, the cumulative MNP requests increased from 186.69 million at the end of Nov-15 to 194.01 million at the end of Dec-15.


Wireline subscriber base declined from 25.72 million at the end of Nov-15 to 25.52 million at the end of Dec-15. Net reduction in the wireline subscriber base was 0.21 million at the monthly decline rate of 0.80%.

BSNL and MTNL, the two PSU access service providers, held 73.09% of the wireline market share.

The number of broadband subscribers increased from 131.49 Million at the end of Nov- 15 to 136.53 million at the end of Dec-15 with monthly growth rate of 3.83%.

Top five service providers constituted 83.41% market share of total broadband subscribers namely Bharti Airtel (31.49 million), Vodafone (25.91 million), Idea Cellular (21.21 million), BSNL (19.85 million) and Reliance Communications Group (15.41 million).

The top five Wired Broadband Service providers were BSNL (9.92 million), Bharti Airtel (1.67 million), MTNL (1.12 million), Atria Convergence Technologies (0.86 million) and YOU Broadband (0.51 million).

The top five Wireless Broadband Service providers were Bharti Airtel (29.82 million), Vodafone (25.91 million), Idea Cellular (21.21 million), Reliance Communications Group (15.30 million) and BSNL (9.93 million).

Airtel Launches New Website For Users To Track Project Leap

Bharti Airtel has launched a new website that let customers know everything on Project Leap, the 60,000 crore network transformation program and how it is progressing in the respective localities. 

project leap

 The company said that the customers will be able to get a transparent view of coverage of voice and high speed broadband services and will also be able to see sites planned in their localities, seek help on hosting sites and share the site up gradation plan for every site. Customers will also be able to see sites that have been forcibly shut down in their locality. 

The website also lets the customers participate in the network transformation program. As part of this, customers can volunteer to host a site in a planned or a forcibly shut site location, and contribute actively to this network enhancement drive.

Earlier, Airtel had announced a Rs. 60,000 crore investment towards Project Leap. Under the project, Airtel plans to add around 1,60,000 sites in the next three years. In the next three months, Airtel will be adding nearly 23,000 high speed data sites enhancing the overall network experience.

Airtel Launches Wynk Games, Expands Its Content Portfolio

After Wynk Music and Wynk Movies, Airtel has announced the beta launch of ‘Wynk Games’  which is the latest OTT addition to its content portfolio.

Mobile based gaming destination ‘Wynk Games’ will be subscription free for Airtel users and available at Rs 29 for other customers in the app’s current beta phase.

Wynk games

Kartik Sheth, CEO – Wynk, Bharti Airtel, said, “By subscribing to ‘Wynk Games’, customers can enjoy a host of games at no additional cost – this includes many games that are typically found as ‘paid’ elsewhere. Also, though customers download various games for free, they often can only play a few levels of the game before hitting locked levels and getting prompted to make coin purchases to continue. ‘Wynk Games’ does away with all these challenges and allows customers to enjoy complete games.”

Aimed at providing a comprehensive range of ‘Wynk Games’, Airtel has tied up with Playphone Inc., a mobile social gaming network through which Indian developers will be able to expand their reach.

“With our partnership, Indian developers on ‘Wynk Games’ will also automatically get published in countries where Playphone is present – thus giving them opportunities to expand their reach across other global as well as emerging markets. Developers require only about 10 lines of code to adapt their app to the subscription platform for ‘Wynk Games’ and can register online at,” said Sheth.

Airtel’s Wynk Music App Crosses 12 Million Downloads

Bharti Airtel has announced that its mobile application ‘Wynk Music’ has crossed 12 million downloads in little over 12 months of its launch.

With the average Wynk user playing over 5 hours of music each month, the app by a telecom operator in India now clocks 5 million music streams and downloads per day.

Non-airtel customers can enjoy ad free music and free downloads for the first month. The latest version also features a ‘Save Data’ mode that enables users to save up to 70% on data charges.

Kartik Sheth, CEO of Wynk Music said, “We are happy to work with Airtel to bundle Wynk Music subscription worth Rs 99 per month with data plans from Airtel. This will go a long way in making legal music affordable and accessible to millions of users.”

Airtel also announced that it has launched a Windows version of the Wynk app.

Airtel Launches Its Wi-Fi App Across 8 Locations In Delhi

Airtel has launched its Wi-Fi app – Airtel Hangout. Airtel customers can now download the free Hangout app from Android or iOS store to connect to Wi-Fi zones in Delhi. Airtel has gone live with its Hotspots across 8 locations in Delhi/NCR.

After the app is installed, a customer will have to validate his/her phone number to start the session on Airtel Hangout. Once validated, every time the customer is  near an Airtel Wi-Fi zone, he will automatically connect to the Wi-Fi network if he has given his consent to auto connect.

Airtel customers will just need to have an activated Airtel 3G/4G pack/plan since the Wi-Fi data consumption will be charged from this pack/plan.

The Wi-Fi hotspot will be an open platform for users across mobile operators having Wi-Fi compatible devices and will allow users a free quota limit of 25MB per day per device.

Post exhaustion of the 25 MB quota, the Wi-Fi will be available exclusively to Airtel customers via the Airtel Hangout app.

Airtel Instructed To Withdraw ‘Misleading’ 4G Speed Challenge Ads

The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) issued a notice to Airtel, asking the cellular provider to withdraw its ‘4G speed challenge ads’ after a complaint was filed by an unidentified consumer, stating that the ad was ‘misleading’, reports The Mint.

“The claim in the ad, ‘Airtel 4G is the fastest network ever’ and ‘If your network is faster, we will pay your mobile bills for life’, is misleading by omission in the absence of appropriate disclaimers in the print, TV, hoarding advertisements. The advertisement contravened Chapter 1.4 of the code,” said the notice reviewed by The Mint.

Chapter 1.4 of ASCI’s code states that ads shall not distort facts or mislead consumers by means of implication or omissions.

ASCI has further instructed Airtel to withdraw or modify its ad before 7th October or seek a review of the decision. It also instructed consumers to notify ASCI in case the ad continues to run after the specified date.

“We are engaging with ASCI to provide them with the technical data in support of our advertising claims and are following the prescribed process to schedule a review of the said issue. We are confident of getting a favorable response from them,” said Airtel in a statement to The Mint.


Airtel Brings ‘Pay For What You Use’ Plan For Prepaid Customers

Bharti Airtel Limited announced that starting today it will move all its prepaid mobile customers nationally to an affordable per second bill plan.

Rolled out under the new Pay For What You Use”, this initiative will help ensure that customers pay only for the time they use the Airtel network.

Ajai Puri, Director – Market Operations, Bharti Airtel (India & South Asia) said, “Our customers are the reason for us to be in business, we therefore constantly introduce innovative initiatives with a commitment to deliver a world class experience to them. While we continue to invest aggressively in our network quality and deploy new sites to further enhance our robust & wide network presence, as yet another token measure of our commitment we are today taking the lead to move our customers to the affordable per second plans ensuring that they pay only for what they use.”

Uber Partners With Airtel To Offer Riders Free In-Car WiFi

Taxi hailing service Uber has entered into a strategic partnership with Bharti Airtel to power payments on its app and provide free high-speed Internet connectivity to riders.

Riders will now be able to pay for Uber rides through Airtel Money, the service provider’s own digital wallet, in addition to Paytm’s digital wallet, credit and debit cards.

Further, Airtel’s 4G networks will power free in-car Internet access for Uber customers starting this Saturday in Mumbai. Net access will be powered by the driver’s handsets.

The partnership also makes Airtel Uber’s official telecom partner across India by offering drivers mobile, data and device plans.

In order to access the Internet on-the-go, drivers will have to turn on the Wi-Fi hotspot on their 4G enabled handsets and riders have to click on “UberWIFI” to begin surfing the web.

The free Internet service is kicking off in Mumbai from Saturday and will be rolled out pan-India in the coming months.

Ola too recently launched “Ola Select”, a benefits program which allows frequent riders to enjoy benefits such as free in-cab Internet at no additional cost.

Airtel Launches 4G Data Services In 296 Towns Across India

Airtel has announced the launch of its high speed 4G LTE data service across 296 towns in India as it prepares for the entry of Reliance Jio and other rivals such as Vodafone and Idea Cellular.

With voice and data costs being among the lowest in the world, Airtel says it key differentiator will be offering great customer experience.

Over the course of the next few weeks, the company said it will completely roll out its 4G services in 296 towns across 14 circles, up from the current 45 cities and towns.

4G data packs will start at just Rs 25 with prices being similar to 3G data. Airtel also introduced plans offering unlimited voice calls with data benefits and free access to services such as Wynk Music and Wynk Movies.

The company has also tied up with e-commerce player Flipkart and device maker Samsung to promote its 4G services, offering free SIMs to buyers of 4G devices and double data benefits.

Airtel To Make HD Set Top Boxes In India #MakeInIndia

Airtel Digital TV, the direct to home division of Bharti Airtel is launching set top boxes made in India as part of the Make in India initiative of the Indian Government.

Starting with their conception in collaboration with MyBox Technologies and ST Microelectronics, these set top boxes will be produced in Ranjangaon near Pune. The new design will allow broadcasting in crisp 1080p HD, have Wi-fi connectivity and allow people to record their favourite shows through USB.

Minister Rajyavardhan Rathore and Airtel CEO Shashi Arora launch the indigenously manufactured Airtel Digital TV set top box
Minister Rajyavardhan Rathore and Airtel CEO Shashi Arora launching Airtel’s Digital TV set top box

The ‘Made in India’ set top boxes will initially be available in HD but there are plans to eventually make all of the set top boxes indigenously.

Bharti Airtel is the latest company to join the Government’s Make in India initiative launched in September 2014 urging manufacturers to make products in India. The main drive of this initiative is to create jobs and enhance skillsets.

Recently, Foxconn started manufacturing phones in its AP factory.

DoT Panel On Net Neutrality Opposes Internet .org But Favors Airtel Zero

In yet another startling revelation, the DoT panel report on Net Neutrality has apparently opposed Facebook’s initiative but supports services similar to Airtel Zero with prior clearance from TRAI. which provided users with access to online services at zero data charges came under fire for promoting select products. After several partner exits, Facebook opened up to all developers.

While the DoT has said services such as Airtel Zero can be allowed it added that collaborations between telecom operators and content providers that enable gate-keeping roles should be actively discouraged.

While Facebook makes no money from content providers if they choose to offer their services on, Airtel Zero makes money directly from app developers or website owners, thereby providing users access to those services at zero data charges.

The move to allow services such as Airtel Zero is bound to find resistance among Net Neutrality activists and while Facebook might have opened up its service to all developers, it still creates an unfair advantage for telecom operators considering that is available only to Reliance users.

Airtel Launches National Mobile Number Portability Service

Airtel has announced that it is all set to launch National Mobile Number Portability allowing customers to move across the country without having to change their mobile number.


Porting a number within Airtel’s own networks will be processed within 24 hours and all incoming calls on roaming will be free once the number portability request is raised.

Prepaid customers will be able to transfer their balance while post paid customers can carry forward their bill amount while porting their number to a new city.

The move has been a long time in the coming and will save customers a lot of hassle when it comes to moving from one city to another. Mobile phones are indispensable these days and everyone just dreads changing their number.

The process for National Mobile Number Portability is the same as that intra-city mobile number portability. Customers can walk into an Airtel outlet and follow the MNP procedure as advised.

Airtel also said that National Mobile Number Portability will not be available to customers moving to J&K, Assam and the North East owing to security reasons.

Airtel Begins 4G Trials In Delhi [3G Users Can Switch To 4G At No Extra Cost]

Airtel has begun running trials for its 4G network in the Delhi NCR region as it gears up for the growing demand of high-speed mobile Internet in the country.


As part of the trials, Airtel customers in Delhi can upgrade to a 4G pack at the price of 3G connection. The company hopes to gather valuable user feedback in order to improve its 4G network infrastructure in the country.

Airtel says its 4G networks will allow customers to download 10 movies in 30 minutes or upload two high-resolution photos per second as a measure of the speed.

Further, the company has tied up with Samsung and Flipkart to promote its high-speed 4G network in India. Through the partnership, select Samsung store will facilitate swapping customer’s SIMs for Airtel’s 4G ready ones.

Samsung Galaxy S6, S5 Edge, A7 and A5 users also enjoy Airtel’s double data offer, that doubles up the amount of data as per their plan. Flipkart too if offering the double data plan to buyers of select handsets  on its platform.

As Reliance gets ready to blitz the Telecom sector with its Jio high-speed Internet service, operators are wary of yet another price war that could push down their margins even further.

Airtel is looking to get as many customers on board its 4G networks before the launch of Reliance Jio, for which it is treating customers to offers and making it easier for them to sign up for its service.