Customer service was at the worst, so typical of a
public sector company, when Bharat Sanchar Nigam (BSNL)
kept hundreds of its prospective mobile phone clients
waiting for hours on 24 October 2002, after the launch
of its mobile service in Kochi.
With just 10,000
prepaid cards on offer from BSNL in 16 counters across
Kerala (Escotel has 7,000 counters, BPL 3,600 and Airtel
2,100), there was a heavy rush for mobile phone connections,
which BSNL officials failed to deal with.
In the Ernakulam
region, only 2,000 prepaid connections were on offer in
just four counters and with the low rates offered by BSNL,
obviously there was a rush. But in the end, the customer
service left a lot to be desired. Also, the officials
admitted that even for the 2,000 connections on offer
in the district, full kits were not yet ready.
total chaos. BSNL officials attitude at the counters
was typical government stuff - no concern for the customers,
says Mohammed Faizal, a resident of Kakkanad, who had
waited for four hours at the BSNLs Kalathiparambil
Road office for the connection. In fact, the customers
had to stand at three different counters (one to get the
application form, second to crosscheck the filled forms,
and third to make the payments) to complete the proceedings.
In the meantime,
the private competitors are bracing up to the BSNL entry
by planning similar packages soon. It is learnt
that all three private players in Kerala - BPL Mobile,
Escotel and Airtel - are in the final stages of preparing
a package, in response to the BSNL offer.
believed in providing competitive and affordable rates
to customers. We have responded to the competition in
a positive manner, says Escotel (Kerala) chief operating
officer V G Somasekhar.
Adds a BPL official:
We will come out with a similar package soon. The
promotional offer, which may coincide with Deepavali,
is expected to last a month.
officials, without being forthcoming, say there could
be an announcement on a package from New Delhi sooner
or later. We are yet to get anything specific from
our Delhi office. But, there is a possibility.