G. Ravikiran

BSNL's Anant plan attracts users

Pre-paid connections outdo post-paid in Krishna districtBSNL to enhance pre-paid and Anant cardsRecharge rentals may be scaled down furtherBSNL Krishna nets Rs. 19.24 crores revenue from CellOne

VIJAYAWADA: A plumber uses a mobile phone to keep in contact with his clients. A firm, engaging unskilled labourers in fixing grills at buildings, gives mobile phones to all the workers. An auto-rickshaw driver owns a mobile phone because it is no longer beyond his reach.

A wide variety of users are opting for pre-paid mobile connections as an easy and economical means of staying in contact with others. There has been a boom in sale of these connections.

Pre-paid connections offered by Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) have found a large number of takers last year. Of the total 78,803 CellOne connections issued in Krishna district last year, nearly 62,600 connections were in pre-paid category. Only 16,203 subscribers have post-paid connections.

Noticing the trend among customers, BSNL officials have decided to enhance the capacity to issue as many pre-paid connections as possible in the coming days.

The recently introduced `Anant' service, which gives a customer lifetime incoming free facility, has done extremely well. The BSNL has issued nearly 6,000 Anant connections in a period of just three months.

Low rentals

BSNL Deputy General Manager (urban) L. Sreenu said, the customers were opting for pre-paid connections in view of the flexibility and low rentals. Pre-paid services had become a hit among students, housewives and low-income groups. The customers were looking at the facility of disconnecting the service at will.

Mr. Sreenu said that customers were making a beeline for Anant and the service would be further enhanced in the near future.

By just paying Rs. 56, a customer could enjoy free incoming service. "This works out well for the service providers. The logic is that the customer will receive calls from others. It is a way of promoting business indirectly," he added.

The Anant attraction

Once an unwilling customer starts using Anant connection, he or she would tend to go in for recharge coupons, at least occasionally. Even the most unlikely sections of society would thus become permanent users of mobile services tempted by these start-up, low-cost services.

Mr. Sreenu said that rentals and prices of recharge cards would further be scaled down in the coming years so that the benefit of mobile services would reach even the last rung. There was no denying the fact that pre-paid services have penetrated into all sections of society.

BSNL, Krishna district had recorded a revenue of Rs. 19.24 crores from CellOne services during 2005-06. The recharge coupons for pre-paid connection users were being made available at different outlets in the city.