State owned telco BSNL is offering unlimited local and STD calls at Rs 439 for a period of three months for all existing and new subscribers, reports ET. The unlimited local/STD calling pack is also available at Rs 149 per month across all circles that it operates in.
According to BSNL’s CMD Anupam Shrivastava, the new tariff packs are available as promotional offer starting today. However there is huge setback: unlimited calling to networks outside BSNL is capped just half an hour per day “as fair usage policy”, while calls within BSNL network do not have any such caps.
BSNL’s new unlimited calling pack might not attract new customers and we doubt that even existing customers would opt to recharge Rs 149 a month for unlimited call within the network. New entrant Reliance Jio is offering unlimited free calls to any network at the same Rs 149 bundled with additional 300 MB of 4G data. Apart from Jio, private operators like Airtel, Idea and Vodafone is also providing unlimited calling plans starting at a lower price of Rs 145 up till Rs Rs 348 depending on the 4G data bundled with the plan.
BSNL had earlier launched plans like unlimited 3G internet for Rs 1099, and this saw massive response from consumers. However, placing a “usage policy” on calls and marketing it to the public as “unlimited calling” isn’t going to win the company many customers. In October, GSMA data revealed that out of the 1 billion SIMs in India, only 616 million were unique connections, denoting that most Indian consumers had dual SIMs. These numbers suggests that subscribers move between SIMs. For example, a user could own an Airtel SIM for calls, and Jio SIM for data (because of Jio’s unlimited data offer). Considering this, it’s unlikely that a subscriber might purchase a new BSNL SIM even as a second option.
BSNL’s app based calling feature
Last week BSNL launched fixed mobile telephony (FMT) services in India allowing subscribers to virtually install a fixed line number onto a mobile device using an app. Customers using the service can make and receive cheaper calls (hosted via 3G/4G or WiFi) while travelling outside India to any cellular or landline network.