BSNL is reportedly looking to revamp its landline services to introduce a host of modern facilities, like video calling and free call transfer from mobile phones among others, across to its users. With the changes expected to be in place by the end of the current financial year, reports suggest that the state-run body will be investing Rs.400 crores in the venture. Shedding some more light on the changes lined up, BSNL's Chairman and Managing Director, R K Upadhyay has been quoted by reprots as saying, “We have started process of converting all our exchanges in to NGN (Next Generation Network) exchanges. This will bring to landlines all facilities that are currently available on mobile phones like video calling, call transfer, directory among others.” He added further that in all there are 37,,639 exchanges, of which 30,008 are based on technology from C-DoT, while the others are from imported technology.
BSNL landline services to get a facelift
Upadhyay further revealed that while the conversion of C-DoT exchanges in to NGN exchange will not cost much, those that are based on imported technology will cost more, an estimated cost between Rs.300-400 crores. He added that keeping this in mind BSNL has floated tenders. He added further that the aforementioned NGN technology will help them introduce modern facilities to users like call transfer facility to landline, while a user is at home. The key here, obviously is the cost factor, for earlier the service (mobile to mobile) was charged for. However, BSNL will be offering mobile to landline call transfer free of cost.
Some other services mentioned now also include introducing NGN-based fixed line connection to corporate consumers. Fixed line connections, as such would allow it to be converted into a small exchange, wherein calls can be transferred within an organization via extension numbers for employees. He was quoted further as saying, “These are some of the initial services that will be available on phone. We will provide a host of value-added services on a single phone as we proceed. We expect to complete this project by end of this fiscal.” Upadhyay added further that these fixed line phones will also slash operational and maintenance costs that the company would incur.
BSNL was recently in the news for having slashed the charges for mobile data usage by a whopping 75 percent for its postpaid users. As per reports at the time, additional usage beyond free data usage for both 2G and 3G postpaid data plans were to be a revised 1paisa/ 10 KB, instead of the previous 4 paisa/10 KB from 1st June, 2012. In its “The Indian Telecom Services Performance Indicators” report that the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India recently released, it highlighted among other things that BSNL holds 55.32 percent of the market share with reported subscriber base of 12.65 million Internet subscribers at the end of March '12.