Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (known as BSNL, India Communications Corporation Limited) is a public sector communications company in India. It is the India’s largest telecommunication company with 25.14% market share as on December 31, 2007. Its headquarters are at Bharat Sanchar Bhawan, Harish Chandra Mathur Lane, Janpath, New Delhi. It has the status of Mini-ratna – a status assigned to reputed Public Sector companies in India.
BSNL is India’s oldest and largest Communication Service Provider (CSP). Currently BSNL has a customer base of 68.5 million (Basic & Mobile telephony). It has footprints throughout India except for the metropolitan cities of Mumbai and New Delhi which are managed by MTNL. As on December 31, 2007 BSNL commanded a customer base of 31.7 million Wireline, 4.1 million CDMA-WLL and 32.7 million GSM Mobile subscribers. BSNL’s earnings for the Financial Year ending March 31, 2007 stood at INR 397.15b (US$ 9.67 b) with net profit of INR 78.06b (US$ 1.90 billion). Today, BSNL is India’s largest Telco and one of the largest Public Sector Undertaking with estimated market value of $ 100 Billion. The company is planning an IPO with in 6 months to offload 10 % to public.
The foundation of Telecom Network in India was laid by the British sometime in 19th century. The history of BSNL is linked with the beginning of Telecom in India. In 19th century and for almost entire 20th century, the Telecom in India was operated as a Government of India wing. Earlier it was part of erstwhile Post & Telegraph Department (P&T). In 1975 the Department of Telecom (DoT) was separated from P&T. DoT was responsible for running of Telecom services in entire country until 1985 when Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL) was carved out of DoT to run the telecom services of Delhi and Mumbai. It is a well known fact that BSNL was carved out of Department of Telecom to provide level playing field to private telecoms.Subsequently in 1990s the telecom sector was opened up by the Government for Private investment, therefore it became necessary to separate the Government’s policy wing from Operations wing. The Government of India corporatised the operations wing of DoT on October 01, 2000 and named it as Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL).BSNL operates as a public sector.
Main Services being provided by BSNL
BSNL provides almost every telecom service, however following are the main Telecom Services being provided by BSNL in India:-
1. Universal Telecom Sevices : Fixed wireline services & Wireless in Local loop (WLL) using CDMA Technology called bfone and Tarang respectively. BSNL is dominant operator in fixed line. As on December 31, 2007, BSNL had 81% marketshare of fixed lines.
2. Cellular Mobile Telephone Services: BSNL is major provider of Cellular Mobile Telephone services using GSM platform under brandname Cellone. Pre-paid Cellular services of BSNL are know as Excel. As on March 31, 2007 BSNL had 17% share of mobile telephony in the country.
3. Internet: BSNL is providing internet as dial-up connection (Sancharnet) and ADSL-Broadband Dataone. BSNL has around 50% marketshare in broadband in India. BSNL has planned aggressive rollout in broadband for current financial year.
4. Intelligent Network (IN): BSNL is providing IN services like tele-voting, toll free calling, premium calling etc.
BSNL is divided into a number of administrative units, termed as telecom circles, metro districts, project circles and specialized units, as mentioned below:-
Telecom Circles: Telecom Circles & Metro districts are responsible for providing service to the customers. There are 24 Telecom Circles and 2 Metro districts.
BSNL Present & Future
Since its corporatisation in October 2000, BSNL has been actively providing connections in both Urban and Rural areas and the efficiency of the company has drastically improved from the days when one had to wait for years to get a phone connection to now when one can get a connection in even hours. Pre-activated Mobile connections are available at many places across India. BSNL has also unveiled very cost-effective Broadband internet access plans (DataOne) targeted at homes and small businesses.
At present BSNL enjoy’s around 45% of market share of ISP services.
Year of Broadband 2007
2007 has been declared as “Year of Broadband” in India and BSNL is in the process of providing 5 million Broadband connectivity by the end of 2007. BSNL has upgraded existing Dataone (Broadband) connections for a speed of up to 2 MB/s without any extra cost. This 2 MB/s broadband service is being provided by BSNL at a cost of just US$ 5.5 per month. Further, BSNL is rolling out new Broadband services as Triple play (telecommunications).
BSNL is planning to increase its customer base to 108 million customers by 2010. With the frantic activity in the communication sector in India, the target appears achievable, however due to intense competition in Indian Telecom sector in recent past BSNL’s growth has slowed down.
BSNL is pioneer of Rural Telephony in India. BSNL has recently bagged 80% of US$ 580 m (INR 2,500 crores) Rural Telephony project of Government of India.
During Financial Year 2006-2007 (From April 01, 2006 to March 31, 2007) BSNL has added 9.6 million new customers in various telephone services taking its customer base to 64.8 million. BSNL’s nearest competitor Bharti Airtel is standing at a customer base of 39 million. However, despite impressive growth shown by BSNL in recent times, the Fixed line customer base of BSNL is declining. In order to woo back its fixed-line customers BSNL has brought down long distance calling rate under OneIndia plan, however, the success of the scheme is not known. However, BSNL faces bleak fiscal 2006-2007 as users flee, which has been accepted by the CMD BSNL.
Presently there is an intense competition in Indian Telecom sector and various Telcos are rolling out attractive schemes and are providing good customer services. However, BSNL being legacy operator and its conversion from a Government Department, earns lot of criticism for its poor customer service. Although in recent past there have been tremendous improvement in working of BSNL but still it is much below the Industry’s Expectations. A large aging (average age 49 years(appx)) workforce (300,000 strong), which is mostly semi-illetrate or illeterate is the main reason for the poor customer service. Further, the Top management of BSNL is still working in BSNL on deputation basis holding Government employee status thus having little commitment to the organisation. Although in coming years the retirement profile of the workforce is very fast and around 25% of existing workforce will retire by 2010, however, still the workforce will be quite large by the industry standards. Quality of the workforce will also remain an issue.