Update (30-Dec-2011): Airtel voice services have been on the blink for four days on the trot now. However, GPRS and SMS services are working relatively trouble-free. Looking at the bright side though, Airtel users won't be obligated to send New Year's wishes anymore. That's a lot of money saved.
In a rerun of the 2008 incident, Airtel's data centre in Malad caught fire early Tuesday morning - nuking its voice and data services in the western region (Mumbai, Maharashtra, Goa, and Madhya Pradesh). Unlike the 2008 outage, which lasted for 12 hours, this fire safety fiasco has been going on for three days now. The very literal network meltdown has affected data services such as 3G, GPRS, CDMA, and broadband internet access, in addition to voice calling. While some users can now intermittently access GPRS services and send SMS, making and receiving calls is a hit-and-miss affair for many users.
Airtel, however, attempts to portray a rosier picture. "Our teams have been working round the clock to restore these services, and we are happy to state that all mobile, DSL and mobile data services have largely been normalized. However, some customers may be facing intermittent network congestion during the network stabilization process. We are working on our Enterprise Services delivery which will start normalizing tomorrow", said an Airtel spokesperson.
When you take off the sugar coating, this still means there's at least one more day of suffering left before the situation can get any better. Three days of flaky voice and data connection in a network circle accounting for 17% of Airtel's 175 million strong user base is unacceptable. Then again, so is the propensity of Airtel's data centres to burst into flames time and again.
That just might be true since it took six hours to control the relatively minor fire.