Bharat Sanchar Nigam (BSNL) subscribers may soon get a free landline connection along with a broadband (high speed internet) subscription. The public sector Telco is looking at packaging broadband with fixed lines in order to push its landline service and increase tele-density.
The demand for broadband connectivity is increasing, especially from urban homes and small and medium businesses. “BSNL will capitalise on this demand to promote its fixed line service. The bundled scheme is likely to be launched by August this year,” sources said.
Under the offer, users will have to pay a single activation charge, which is likely to be Rs 100. “The rental for fixed line will be kept at the minimum level and could be zero also. Subscribers will have to pay only call charges,” claimed sources.
The Telco is unlikely to invite losses under this scheme as broadband revenue is certain, sources said. BSNL’s monthly rate for broadband for the home segment currently varies from Rs 250 (256 kbps bandwidth) to Rs 3,300 (1 mbps bandwidth). The plans for corporates begin at Rs 700 and go up to Rs 9,000 per month depending on the bandwidth.
“Also, when a landline is installed, it will be used for making calls and will generate revenue for BSNL,” sources added. BSNL’s strategy is similar to the “free incoming for lifetime offers” which are based on the idea that subscribers will ultimately use the mobile not only for receiving calls, but will also start making calls.
Before introducing the combo offer, BSNL will have to ensure sufficient broadband capacity. Broadband networks require filtering of voice and data traffic. “BSNL is in the process of procuring 2m to 3m additional lines of broadband equipment. This will be completed by May,” sources said.
BSNL’s broadband subscriber base stood at 8.4 lakh as on December ’05. “BSNL’s current broadband capacity is 10 lakh, which is likely to be full soon,” said sources. The scheme will enhance tele-density and also help attain the government target of 250m phone connections by end ’07.
Out of these, around 70m are expected to be landlines. BSNL currently has 40m fixed line users, but around 2.5m to 3m users have been giving up connections every year, attracted by low-cost handsets besides lower mobile tariffs.