When Airtel Mumbai,Maharashtra went on the blink

It’s not just in politics that arch rivals suddenly become friends. On Friday, India’s telecom sector witnessed an unusual alliance, with Vodafone demonstrating that it is “happy to help’’ not just its own customers but its competitor, Bharti Airtel’s, as well. When a fire in its Peninsula Chambers office in Lower Parel destroyed some of Airtel’s crucial telecom switches, reportedly cutting off services to its subscribers for over 12 hours, the firm chose to knock on Vodafone’s door for help to migrate its customers onto their network.From 11 pm onwards, Airtel’s network started to slowly sputter back to life with customers receiving a message: “Welcome to the Vodafone Mumbai Network. Happy to help.’’ Vodafone was perhaps the logical choice as it is the only player in Mumbai with some excess capacity.Besides, Vodafone made sure not to compromise its network quality for its own subscribers. “At night and on weekends, office traffic dips, so we were able to take on the additional load,’’ a Vodafone official said. Airtel, on its part, claimed that the fire took a toll on just 20% to 25% of its network. However, the impact was reportedly severe. The firm also said on Friday that it was a temporary disruption only in some areas of south Mumbai and certain suburbs. On Saturday, it issued another statement saying 90% of the affected part of its network is now up and running.
The surprising part was that lots of prepaid subscribers in Pune and Maharashtra like me were also affected and services got finally restored late on Saturday night.

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