BSNL targets niche customers

NEW DELHI AUG. 26. Taking a cue from the private phone companies, the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited has come out with schemes to enrol niche customers and retain old loyalists. The state-owned company has announced a special scheme for cellular subscribers in Chennai, a plan targeted at students, loyalty bonus to Internet customers and fee & time limit waivers for transferring land phones.

"We have started learning the ropes," said a BSNL official.

The scheme for students will be on offer for a month beginning September 2. Called the "Special Student Power 99" scheme, the post-paid monthly rental has been fixed at Rs. 99. The registration charge of Rs. 500 will be adjusted in the first bill with the activation fee of Rs. 200. The outgoing pulse rate will be 15 seconds and call charges as applicable in BSNL's popular "Plan 225". The charge is 60 paise for each SMS, the most-frequently used facility by the youth.

The second scheme is a loyalty bonus to BSNL's Internet customers. All existing and new Sanchar net users will be given a one-time benefit of 50 hours to be used within 60 days. The scheme remains valid for 15 days beginning August 25.

Unnatural impediments in transferring and shifting landline phones have been removed under the third scheme. All transfer fee and shifting charges within a local area for the general category and third-party subscribers have been scrapped. The existing time-limit of one year for shifting a phone has also been removed. Thus, one can shift or transfer a phone after paying the first bill.

Under the fourth scheme targeted only at cellular customers in Chennai, the activation fee of Rs. 200 has been waived for one month beginning today. In addition, an India Telephone card worth Rs. 540 will be given free with any new connection booked during this week under "Plan 525".

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