Staff Reporter

  • Festival bonanza
  • Local call PCO pulse increased

    NEW DELHI: Facing stiff competition from private operators, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited on Thursday reduced fixed line tariffs for its subscribers paying a monthly rental of Rs.180 or above. The reduction, effective from November 1, is likely to benefit more than one crore landline subscribers.

    Under the new scheme, all subscribers paying a monthly rental of Rs.180 or more will be given the benefits of OneIndia tariff plans STD calls at Re.1 a minute and local calls (of three-minute duration) also at Re.1. Also, the number of free calls has been doubled to 50 every month.

    Hoping that the "festival bonanza" would stop BSNL subscribers from surrendering landline phones, Chairman and Managing Director A.K. Sinha said: "People who spend around Rs. 400 every month on mobile would shift to the new cheaper and attractive plan, while for the existing subscribers, it is a good news." Interestingly, BSNL, which has around 3.5 lakh subscribers, recently reduced the monthly rental of the OneIndia plan from Rs. 225 to 180.

    STD cheaper

    The new scheme will make calls within a State (intra-circle) cheaper by 16 per cent (from Rs. 1.20 to Re. 1 a minute), while STD rates will see a reduction of more than 50 per cent. BSNL has also decided to increase the local call PCO pulse duration from 45 to 60 seconds with the call rate of Re.1 a minute.

    Reacting to a controversy over the tendering process for adding 45.5 million GSM lines, Mr. Sinha said the entire process was being carried out transparently.

    The evaluation process for financial bids would be completed in one month. Pointing out that the first phase of the Rs. 20,000-crore project would be operational by March 2007, he said disqualification of Motorola of the U.S. and ZTE of China was purely on "technical ground".

    Work on laying undersea cable between India and Singapore in collaboration with Mahanagar Telecom Nigam Limited would be awarded in the next two months. BSNL declared a dividend of Rs. 1,175 crore for 2005-06 and posted about 24 per cent increase in the operating profit at Rs. 8,270 crore in the period. It registered a 11.13 per cent increase in the revenue during the year at Rs. 40,177 crore, and added 82 lakh lines, including 77 lakh new cellular subscribers.

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