labels: Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd, MTNL
BSNL, MTNL report slower rise in landline mobile phone connections than private operators news
10 March 2008

The number of telephone customers of BSNL and MTNL as on 31 January 2008 stood at  695.94 lakh and 68.72 lakh respectively.

This reflects an annual growth rate of rise in subscribers of 13.86 for BSNL and 7.99 for MTNL over January 2007.  The number of BSNL landline, WLL and mobile phone connections during last two years and during 2007-08 (till the end of January) was:

(In Lakh)
BSNL Landline WLL Mobile Total
2005-06 -4.36 9.44 77.16 82.24
2006-07 -16.84 9.84 102.64 95.64
2007-08 (upto Jan.08) -21.31 6.81 63.20 48.70
MTNL Landline/ WLL Mobile Total
2005-06 3.64 11.69 15.33
2006-07 3.91 10.62 14.53
2007-08 (upto Jan.08) 2.81 6.65 9.46

The total subscribers of private and public sector telecom companies in the country and the number of subscribers of public and private sector telecom companies as on 31 Januar 2008 was:
  Name of the Company Total Phones Shares in %
1 BSNL 69593752 24.71
2 MTNL 6872942 2.44
  Total 76466694 27.15
1 Bharti Airtel 59627937 21.17
2 Reliance Telecom. Ltd. 43380206 15.40
3 Vodafone 41145413 14.61
4 TATA Teleservices Ltd. 23229484 8.25
5 Idea Mobile Communication 21954685 7.80
6 Aircel 9933815 3.53
7 Spice Communication 3942828 1.40
8 BPL Mobile 1256534 0.45
9 HFCL Infotel Ltd. 420263 0.15
10 Shyam Telelink Ltd. 261776 0.09




Combined Total of public and private sector companies 281619635 100

To catch up with the faster pace of growth of the private telecom companies, minister of state for communications and information technology,  Dr Shakeel Ahmad today said in a written reply in the Lok Sabha, that BSNL and MTNL have introduced several new schemes at competitive rates for fixed telephones including WLL considering the need of customers and prevailing market conditions.

Outlining some of the initaiatives of the two public sector telecom companies, Dr Ahmed said BSNL and MTNL have taken following steps to increase the number of subscribers:

Reduction in the tariff for all basic services

  • Launch of BSNL OneIndia tariff scheme
  • Deduction in rental for Sulabh plan
  • Empowering CGMs of Telecom Circles to launch Circle based competitive tariffs for basic and cellular services to increase the number of subscribers.
  • Improving the legacy PSTN Network by change of cables, drop wire etc. as required
  • New tariff plans both in landline and cellular based PCOs are launched to retain PCO holders and attract new PCO franchisees
  • Expansion of Mobile and Broadband network including other Value added services such as VoIP, IPTV, convergent billing, etc.

The year-wise growth of telecom subscribers in the country during the last three years and for 2007-08 (up to January 2008) was:

Year Growth during the year
2004-05 28.52%
2005-06 44.44%
2006-07 44.89%
2007-08 (up to Jan-08) 36.80%

Responding to another question, Dr Ahmed said that the government had taken the following steps to spread telephones in the rural areas:

  • Support from universal service obligation fund (USOF) for provisioning of rural direct exchange lines (RDELs) in all the 1685 positive net cost short distance charging Areas (SDCAs)
  • USOF support for providing village public telephones (VPTs) in 66,822 undisputed accessible and inhabited villages having population more than 100
  • Support from USOF for the innovative scheme of sharing of infrastructure by USO Fund to set up 7871 number of infrastructure sites (towers) spread over 500 districts spread over 27 states, for mobile services in the specified rural and remote areas, where there is no existing fixed wireless or mobile coverage in the country
  • Relaxation of norms by Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) for laying cable up to 5km of exchanges against the earlier standard of 2.5km based on demand and techno-commercial consideration.
  • Large-scale deployment of WLL network by BSNL in rural areas
  • Deployment of mobile network along all the highways by BSNL to give incidental coverage to large parts of rural areas
  • In addition to the efforts made by BSNL, the private operators are also offering their services to meet the demand for telephone.


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BSNL, MTNL report slower rise in landline mobile phone connections than private operators