BSNL to offer minimal effort smartphones

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Nationwide launch to be announced soon, says official

Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), which has just completed 17 years of service, is going to come out with its own low-cost handset-cum-sim card bundled offer. A nationwide launch of such smartphones is expected after a memorandum of understanding has been signed with mobile makers Micromax and Lava to offer low cost phones to be in the range of ₹2,500 or less.

“We do not yet know the final cost as it is being worked out, but it will be affordable. The arrangement is with the home grown firms as part of the Make in India initiative,” announced Principal General Manager – Hyderabad Telecom District K. Ramchand here on Thursday.

Wifi exchanges

At a press conference he addressed along with his senior colleagues — general managers Srinivasulu, C. Ramachandran, N. Sujatha, Hanumantha Rao and others — he said that the BSNL was also setting up as many as 118 rural wi-fi exchanges in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh and they were set to become operational in the current financial year itself.

Six have become operational — Ibrahimpatnam, Medchal, Keesara, Shamshabad, Ghatkesar and Shameerpet — while 45 more are expected later this month. Existing BSNL customers can straightaway make use of the facility while within 50-100 metres radius of the exchanges without paying anything extra for one GB high speed bandwidth.

Mobile signals

Mobile signals in the twin cities and elsewhere are also going to be strengthened with purchase orders issued for new GSM equipment under ‘Phase 8’ where up to 400 new sites are to be set up from April next. “It will coincide with the roll out of our 4G services,” he said.

Another unique scheme introduced has been the Limited Fixed Mobile Telephone (LFMT) where it is possible for broadband customers with a wi-fi connection to connect with the mobile telephone directory and make use of the all the services like a cordless phone. About 14,000 customers have opted for it.

Landline connections

However, the landlines connections have come down to 3.5 lakh in twin cities where it was more than 7 lakh few years ago. Mobile customers are 10 lakh here and 1 crore in AP/TS with 3.5 lakh customers added recently. In mobile portability things are looking up with 2,800 coming in though 4,000 were moving out to other mobile providers.

The DGM claimed their new Vijay, Lakshmi offers plus Plan-429 were gaining popularity by the day with unlimited calls to any network and data package.

He also appealed to the customers to complete linking up their Aadhar with their mobile numbers before February next.

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