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A Telecom Company for Everyone By R. K. Upadhayay, CMD, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd

Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) came into existence on 1st October, 2000, after conversion from Department of Telecom Operations, Ministry of Communications & IT, Government of India.  The purpose of forming Public Sector from Central Government was to give more technical and commercial freedom to the management of the Company to meet the super competitive environment which exists in India after liberalization of Telecom Industry by Government of India in 1994-95.

BSNL started its journey with fixed line services which were being offered across the country through more than 38,000 telephone exchanges.  The total number of customer base as on 1-10-2000 was 2,88,29690. Today, with more than 125 million customer base, BSNL is No.3 Indian Telecom Company as far as the financial results are concerned and No.4 Telecom Company as far as the Customer Base is concerned.

In the last 12 years, BSNL has become a total telecom service providing company, which is meeting all telecommunications requirements of an individual or corporate user in the country.  BSNL introduced dial up internet service in 2001 and slowly made all telephone exchange internet enabled.  As on date, all fixed line users from all telephone exchanges can use dial up internet telephony through Caller Line Identification (CLI) Internet.  Today BSNL has more than 36.5 million dial up internet users.

BSNL was permitted to introduce mobile services in year 2000.  BSNL launched its first mobile services on 19th October, 2002 from Lucknow by the then Prime Minister of India Mr. Atal Bihari Vajpayee.  Within one year of its launch, BSNL mobile services became most popular mobile services in the country and BSNL mobile user base became No.2 in the country after M/s Air Tel.  BSNL has added various Value Added Services like Caller Tunes, Video Games and Television channels on its mobile platform.  BSNL introduced EDGE Technology on its mobile services with the help of which customers were able to access internet.

In year 2010, BSNL launched 3G services for the first time in the country and offered Video Telephony and Video Conferencing on 3G Mobile Services.  Slowly, other Value Added Services like, full length video songs, movie clips, mobile advertisement, etc. were also introduced.  Today, BSNL 3G services is available in more than 950 cities of the country and BSNL can rightly claim to be the first 3G service provider with the largest area of operation coverage.

Government of India presented the broadband policy in 2004.  BSNL was the first Telecom Operator in the country to introduce broadband services on PAN India basis on 14th January, 2005, simultaneously from 4-Locations, that is, Chennai, Kolkatta, Mumbai and Chandigarh.  BSNL took the leadership position in providing broadband services taking advantage of its vast Copper Network available in the country.  Seven years after launch of the broadband services and with more than 64% Market Share, BSNL is not only retaining the leadership position but also increasing its market share year after year.

Along with ADSL 2+ Technology (Broadband on Copper) BSNL has introduced various other technologies to attract more broadband users and also to improve their experience.  Wireless broadband, using 3G, wireless broadband using 4G (Wi Max), broadband using fiber (FTTH) and broadband using CDMA (EVDO) were introduced.  Today, BSNL is offering broadband using both prepaid and post paid limited & unlimited tariff plans and various other suitable tariff plans for PCOs, Common Services Centers, Rural Customer base, etc. etc.  BSNL is offering 20% discount to Government Employees and PSU employees, so that, Government broadband base remain with BSNL.

To give focus to enterprise customers,   a third business vertical, namely, Enterprise Business had been created, in addition to Consumer Mobility and Fixed Access.  Consequently, based upon the expected size of the business, categorization of enterprise customers have been made into Platinum, Gold and Silver.  BSNL is offering various host of services to our Enterprise Customer base, like, bulk fixed line connection, bulk mobile connections, bulk broadband connections combination of mobile, landline and broadband connections, leased line connections, managed services, corporate messaging solutions, etc. etc.  In totality, BSNL is offering end-to-end requirements of the corporate customers through business enterprise vertical.  Enterprise Business Unit has shown quite encourage results in the past 3 years. 

Telecom industry is one of the fastest growing industry in the world.  With proliferation of information through internet and broadband, consumers are now getting highly educated about the technology and services being available in India and Abroad.  Therefore, all telecom operators in the country have to offer not only the latest technologies to Indian consumers but also tariffs which are affordable to both rural & urban population.  BSNL is taking innovative steps in not only retaining the customers but to increase the market share.  Some of the innovative steps being undertaken and in the process of introduction are as below:-

There has been a sharp decline in the fixed access services revenue and number of subscribers, which is attributed mainly to customer’s preference to wire-less services over wire-line.  However, the Broadband services have contributed significantly in arresting the decline to some extent.

To arrest the decline and promote wire-line services, BSNL has initiated various measures to strengthen the Sales and Distribution and Marketing set ups.  “Project Udaan” is one such initiative under “Project Shikhar”, which aims to bring back the wire-line business to growth path.

The key enabler of the Project Udaan is “Creation of dedicated sales team”, as a result, BSNL’s own strong sales team of 4500 personnel have started selling products.  Besides focus on sales, following initiatives have also been taken to promote the wire-line business:

a) Introduction and offering of VAS Services to Wire-line subscribers, such as-

PRBT services in 5ESS & EWSD Exchanges introduced (265 exchanges);

PRBT extended to more than 40,000 customers;

Combined nationwide landline and nationwide mobile VPN over IN platform;

Universal access number services;

Free phone services etc.; and

ITC tariff has been rationalized and made on per seconds basis.

b) Up-gradation of networks and implementation of CDR based Convergent billing systems:-
To improve the wire-line network, exercise for up-gradation of exchange plans is underway.  Initiatives have been taken for introduction of NGN, IPTAX etc..  In addition, to serve the customer better, following initiatives are underway:-   

CDR based billing system got implemented in entire network to make tariffs more flexible and ensure maximum revenue collection efficiencies;

Special focus is being given to High ARPU Customers;

New tariff scheme commensurate with market demand are being implemented; and

Old telephones instruments are being replaced with CLIP phones.

c) Mobile Segment
Despite a positive growth in terms of numbers, the revenue growth of this segment witnessed a dip in ARPU levels.  Mobile segment, since the launch of services has been contributing significantly towards the revenues of the Company.  Use of multiple SIMs, Aggressive Tariffs of competitors and Migration of marginal customers could be some of the factors, which slowed down the upward trend in this segment.

Constant monitoring and innovative tariff pattern, with focus on VAS content in the 3G services have set the motion for higher growth in the coming days.  The 3G Data Cards sales witnessed a robust upward trend and the target was exceeded.

With the competitive tariffs and all India roaming facilities, BSNL’s EVDO services will be aggressively marketed in the coming days.

A glimpse of your Company’s GSM Coverage and Reach is as under:-

Sl. No.
Parameter Total Covered %Coverage

District Headquarters 632

Block Headquarters 6,210

Villages 5,93,601

National Highways (Kms) 64,374

State Highways (Kms) 1,39,865 93,401 66.78

Railway Route (Kms) 55,414 46,053 83.11

Area (Sq Km) 32,83,762 18,25,653 55.60

Population (in Lakh) 12,272 7,312 59.58

d) Internet Data Center:
Data Center is the new business and the demand of which is increasing day by day.  BSNL has set up 6-Data Centers and plan to add 4 more recently.  This facility is helping the consumers not only to find the place for using shared computer resources including Cloud Computing but also finding a place for getting the Internet Bandwidth at most reasonable price.

BSNL has undertaken to provide around 8.9 lakh rural broadband connections through more than 27,500 rural DSLAMs in 5 years starting from 2009-10, including providing broadband in rural areas with cheaper tariff, free broadband modem, providing computers at concessional rate and also setting up 28,000 rural broadband kiosks meant for those rural population which cannot afford broadband.

Connecting Universities and Colleges with Broadband under National Mission for Education (NME):-
Under this plan [2009-10 to 2012-13] approximately 32,000 colleges and more than 400 universities are planned to be provided with broadband [512 kbps connectivity to 20Nos. of Broadband-VPN to each college and 1 Gbps connectivity to each University with LAN], BSNL has already provided 1,70,000 broadband-VPN connections to approximately 18,000 Colleges and connected 385 Universities with 1GBps bandwidth.

Connecting 1 Lakh Common Service Centers (CSCs) across entire rural India:

BSNL is implementing the ambitious plan of giving broadband connectivity to Common Service Centers across the rural India by using wire-line (ADSL 2+), WiMAX, EVDO and DSPT technologies.  So far, connectivity to more than 76,000 CSCs have been extended.

Broadband connectivity to Village Panchayats:-

Under the Government’s Plan of providing broadband connectivity to all the Village Panchayats of 2,50,000 in the country.  So far, more than 1,40,000 Village Panchayats have been made Broadband enabled by using wire-line (ADSL 2+) technology.

BSNL is hopeful of covering more than 80% of the Village Panchayats of the Country with broadband connections using ADSL 2+ and WiMAX technology by March 2013.


a) 3G Technology Provides high speed data services (2Mbps to 14.4 Mbps) as compared to:- (a) GPRS which provides 110 kbps (b) EDGE: which provides 384 kbps.  In 3G technology services such as High Speed Internet, Video Conferencing, Video streaming, gaming, Video on Demand, Full track music, Multi screen TV, Video ring tone, etc., are offered.

b) Company has recently augmented its capacity by 15.5 Million additional lines spread over the entire country to provide additional mobile services to its ever expanding consumer base.

c) WiMAX Equipment Deployment in TWO telecom Circles is already completed and is progressively deployed in other Circles.


a) Sharing of Infrastructure
The other major initiative taken for increasing the revenue was allowing other operators to share Company’s infrastructure so as to minimize the OPEX on infra facilities and optimize the use of assets.

b) Strengthening of marketing, sales and distribution Channels (Project Vijay)
The fast commoditization of the telecom service/products had necessitated strong initiatives in the Sales and Distribution network.  As part of strengthening the sales and distribution channels for ensuring continuous and uninterrupted supply of products, BSNL has initiated steps for increasing the No of territories from 1,601 to 2,147; increase in No. of retailers from 3,88,565 to 8,00,000; and creation of a dedicated Sales team of 4500 BSNL employees.

c) IT tool (Sanchar soft) has been developed to monitor different channels of distribution and to ease payment of commission.

d) Continuous improvement in Customer Care (Project Smile)
With a view to make the CSCs more effective and customer friendly, Business processes tailored for single window service are being introduced; backend staff is being shifted to customer facing CSCs, and, working hours of payment counters are being increased.  In order to decongest the CSCs, alternate bills payment mechanisms, e.g., payment machines and kiosks, drop boxes, tie-ups with banks also being put in place.

e) Implementation of CDR billing system
In the direction of CDR based Customer Care and Convergent billing system for wire-line and broadband services, four Data Centers for CDR projects, located at Hyderabad, Pune, Kolkatta and Chandigarh have been commissioned.  100% SSA s have been successfully migrated to CDR based billing systems.

CDR billing will make a significant transformation of fixed access business, which will provide various other facilities to the customers of fixed access.

f) ERP system implementation plan
The ERP and Business Process re-engineering for country-wide implementation has been kick-started.  Whole of the process have already been documented and the blue print is ready.  Whole range of activities and processes such as Material management, Project Management, Human Resources Management etc., will be completely computerized.  Complete implementation of ERP and Business Process Re-engineering project is expected to pave way for savings in OPEX and increased operational efficiency.

g) Telecom Factories
The Telecom Factories of BSNL are located at Kolkata, Gopalpur, Kharagpur, Jabalpur, Richhai, Bhilai & Mumbai.  These are in-house manufacturing units, currently engaged in the production of GSM Tower, SIM card, Pay Phones, Mini Pillar, MPJ Box, CT Boxes, DP Boxes, Line Jack Units, Drop-wire, OFC Accessories, FDMS, Jointing Kits etc., employing 3309 persons.

BSNL, in the last 12 years, have established itself as the major Telecom Service Provider in the country.  Customers and Telecom Critics in the country analyzed BSNL as the total Telecom Service Provider, who along with providing the best telecom services to the consumer is also playing the role of introducing various new services and protecting the interest of the consumers.

BSNL has grown from Kashmir to Kanya Kumari and from Gujarat to North-East.  Today, BSNL covers  by 100% District Headquarters, 100% Block Headquarters, nearly 100% cities and most of the habitated villages in the country by landline & Broadband.  BSNL geographical presence in GSM 2G/3G services is the largest in the country.

Government of India and most of the State Governments have shown their tremendous faith in BSNL in its capabilities of delivering telecom services timely and with quality.  BSNL has bagged prestigious projects of the Government like National Optical Fiber Network (NOFN), Defense Project, Common Services Centers (CSCs) Projects of Department of Information Technology (DIT), and National Mission for Education using ICT (NMEICT) of Ministry of Human Resource Development, National Knowledge Network (NKN) of National Informatics Center (NIC), etc. etc.

We sincerely believe to leverage technology to provide affordable and innovative products/services across various customer segments with strong focus on sales, marketing and customer care.  With innovative products in offering, BSNL is marching in the future with the aim of providing affordable and quality telecom services for everyone in the country.

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