Update: Airtel claims to have clocked 200,000 downloads for the My Airtel app, across Android, iOS, Blackberry and other platforms.
Airtel has launched a new mobile app, ‘My Airtel’, allowing Airtel customers across various services (mobile, fixed line, dth etc) to check their outstanding bills, recharge their accounts, make payments, activate-deactivate any service; raise requests-complaints, from within a mobile interface. Airtel digital TV customers can also order movies and games, without assistance from the customer care, through the app.
Interestingly, the app is available to subscribers of all mobile networks and across all major mobile platforms including BlackBerry, Android, Nokia, and feature phones, with an iOS version in the pipeline. Customers can download the application by logging on airtel.in/myairtel or by visiting respective device app store. Alternatively, users can also SMS ‘myairtel’ to 54321 or via a QR code. The usual download charges depending on the subscriber’s data connection will apply for downloading the app and for accessing the application. For non-airtel internet users, there will also be one time SMS charge for authentication that goes to customer’s respective telecom operators.
We tried the app on an Android phone, and it detected our Airtel connection, following a one time SMS verification, displaying account options automatically for the connection. The home screen displays details for outstanding and unbilled usage, links for bill detail, service requests, managing value added services, special offers, and 3G usage. There’s also a notifications screen to display alerts and notifications, a profile page to add new products.
When we tried adding an Airtel landline/broadband account, the app asked us to register our mobile number as the registered mobile number via customer care. It also instructed us to do the same when we tried adding a DTH connection. The app also doesn’t support management of multiple Airtel mobile connections. Why does Airtel require users to register mobile numbers with respective services? It could also employ some other means of verification.
The app has an in-built web browser which is activated when you try to pay your mobile bill, or access support information. So it’s more of a wrapper. Also the ‘back’ button in the app and a separate menu button is redundant. We wonder why Airtel took so long to launch a utility/billing app for users.
Telcos in other countries (where connections are mostly bundled) have been offering such apps for a long time, however, telcos in India including Vodafone, Reliance and others still don’t offer any specific apps for account management.