BSNL Mobile Service Launched, Tariff Kept Lowest

Lucknow, October 19: | Updated: Oct 20 2002, 05:30am hrs
Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on Saturday launched the long-awaited cellular services of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) by making the first call from Raj Bhawan here to deputy prime minister LK Advani in New Delhi.

Mr Vajpayee lauded the initiative of BSNL describing it as a great step forward in the field of telecommunications.

Union communication minister Pramod Mahajan observed that this was the first time the Prime Minister and deputy prime minister spoke to each other on a mobile telephone. He disclosed that the Prime Minister had desired that mobile phone service be launched in Jammu and Kashmir and North-Eastern states. The figure of mobile connectivity at present was about 82 lakh or almost one connection for every 100 people. He said that soon the number would swell to 10 crore as a revolution of sorts was in the offing.

Prithipal Singh, chairman and managing director of BSNL, announcing the tariff plans for post-paid and pre-paid service claimed that BSNL was using the GSM technology, the most popular digital cellular service having features like intelligent network, billing and customer care and unified messaging service. It would cover all states except Mumbai, Delhi, Jammu and Kashmir, North-East and Assam, and can cover up to four million customer base. It would provide all India roaming including Mumbai and Delhi and by March 2003, almost all areas under BSNL are likely to be covered except Jammu and Kashmir and North-East.

There would be a nominal registration fee of Rs 500. The activation charge has been kept at Rs 200 which Mr Singh claimed was the lowest in the country. There is neither roaming charge nor charge for calling line identification service. Announcing a host of concessions, he said that existing subscribers of BSNL fixed line phones need not pay any security deposit. The security deposit for non-BSNL fixed phone subscribers would be Rs one thousand for local, Rs two thousand for local plus STD and Rs three thousand for local plus STD and ISD. There are two monthly rental plans for post-paid scheme one with monthly rental of Rs 225 and the other with a monthly rental of Rs 325. Under Rs 225 monthly plan, the outgoing and incoming calls are charged while all incoming calls are free under the Rs 325 plan.

The pulse in seconds for both peak and off peak timings would be 15 for outgoing calls and 60 for incoming calls.

The pre-paid scheme offers a pulse time in seconds for both peak and off peak timings of 30 in case of outgoing calls and 60 in case of incoming calls. The pre-paid cards would be available in the value of Rs 300, Rs 500, Rs 1000 and Rs 3000.

While the card of RS 300 would be valid for 30 days, the card valuing Rs 2000 would be valid for 90 days, Mr Singh announced.