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BSNL's customer base improving, says official

By Our Staff Correspondent

Bidar Oct. 15. The Chief General Manager of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. (BSNL), Karnataka Circle, K. Padmanabhan, on Wednesday said customers who had surrendered their BSNL landline and mobile connections for those offered by private companies had been coming back to BSNL for the transparency and quality of service BSNL offered.

"Some customers had left us lured by the attractive tariff plans offered by private operators. But after experimenting with private operators for some time, they are gradually coming back to us since there our services do not have hidden costs and our standards are improving by the day. This is because BSNL, unlike other companies, ploughs back profits into the development of its services. The rising demand for our SIM cards is proof of this," Mr. Padmanabhan said after launching the Wireless in Local Loop (WLL) service in Bidar.

"Due to initial hitches, we were not able to meet the demand for mobile connections. Those problems have been solved and we will ensure that the supply of new SIM cards is more than the demand," the BSNL official said. BSNL would increase the distribution of SIM cards from the current 3.4 lakh to 8 lakh, he said.

He said WLL was better than mobile phones. A WLL phone could pick up a weak signal a mobile phone could not, he said. He also said that WLL phone connections could be provided even in the remotest of terrains where copper cables could not be laid.

The BSNL would not trouble pedestrians by digging roads and laying cables since WLL services did not require it anymore, he said. WLL was a better proposition for both the customer and the BSNL since it offered quality service and was cheaper than a mobile phone. It also reduced the loss per connection to the BSNL by one-third, he said.

WLL service had to be restricted to the jurisdiction of a taluk, according to Telecom Regulatory Authority of India regulations. The service would be extended to 103 taluks soon, Mr. Padmanabhan said. WLL connections would be available on demand by March 2004, he said.

He said mobile phone services in Bangalore would be further strengthened with the coming up of the 120 Base Transmitting Stations (BTS). Earlier, there were complaints that private mobile services were better than CellOne in Bangalore. "But after the BTS come up, we will ensure that our services are better than any private operator's," Mr. Padmanabhan said.

He said four BTS would be set up at Aurad, Chitaguppa, Hallikhed, and Kamalnagar in Bidar and a proposal for setting up another at Rajeshwar was being considered.

The Telecom District Manager, Suresh Krishna, said that with the introduction of WLL services, BSNL was the only player to offer all categories of telecom services and it had the largest coverage.

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