More reports on: Telecom

BSNL to launch Rs149 plan with unlimited free voice call facility

06 December 2016

State-owned telecom service provider Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) will soon offer its subscribers the facility to make unlimited local and national voice calls to any network for Rs149 a month.

With the launch of this plan, BSNL will become the second telecom service provider after Reliance Jio to offer unlimited voice calling in low-value packs.

The new monthly tariff plan, expected to be introduced on 1 January, will help the state-run telecom service provider compete with Reliance Jio Infocomm, the telecom arm Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries,

Mumbai-based Jio's Rs149 plan includes unlimited voice calls, 300 MB data and 100 local and national SMS for a 28-day period.

BSNL's new Freedom Plan offers full talk time, 300 MB of data (3G) and is valid for 730 days (2 years), making it a better offer in terms of voice calls.

The BSNL proposal could be more attractive to consumers since the state-run telco has improved its network during the last couple of years. It has also come out with more customised tariff offers targeting almost every user segment.

On the other hand, Reliance Jio's free voice call service has been plagued by call drop issues.

BSNL is expected to compete with Reliance Jio through an unlimited voice call tariff initiative starting at Rs149 per month. This offer is likely to be rolled out in the New Year.

''We are working on a plan to allow unlimited voice calls to mobile subscribers at any network across India at Rs149 a month,'' reports quoting BSNL chairman Anupam Shrivastava said, adding the plan would also include 300 MB of data.

On September 5, billionaire Mukesh Ambani's Jio unveiled free voice calls and free data under its 'Welcome Offer' for the first three months. The company has now extended the offer till 31 March 2017.

While other private telcos too have started offering unlimited voice calling, these are part of higher-valued plans.

BSNL is also building up capacity to accommodate voice traffic by making use of its underutilised fibre-based broadband network, which consists of nearly 7-lakh route kilometres of fibre across the country. Its existing broadband network serves merely 12 million customers.

The unlimited voice calls under the Rs149 plan over its existing broadband network will also help the state-owned telco to reduce interconnection usage charge (IUC), which is currently handicapping Reliance Jio. BSNL's average revenue per user (ARPU) is Rs88 per month.

BSNL is also aiming at acquiring new customers while retaining existing subscriber base in the wake of Jio's tactical pricing.

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