Is BSNL’s Broadband Strategy Hurting its own Growth and Driving Customers Away?

By August 29th, 2014 AT 10:37 PM

Since mid-July we have witnessed uproar at TelecomTALK against BSNL’s move of unilaterally changing tariffs for night unlimited plans. Several BSNL night unlimited broadband plan customers received huge bills for the month of July. Those who normally pay less than Rs. 1000 were served bills several times higher, like Rs. 25,000. No one left any stone unturned in trying to convince BSNL about the latter’s unjustified move and requested to waive the heavy usage charges.

Several people had lodged complaints with PG Portal – complaints were either closed without satisfactory resolution or were forwarded to BSNL

This is what pgportal had to say about the compliant I submitted:

Current Status : CASE CLOSED
Date of Action : 20 Aug 2014
Details : Kindly refer to your grievance registered under the above docket number. The said grievance was forwarded to the concerned service provider who has intimated that : The change in BB usage was done as per corporate office guidelines. Inconvenience caused to the valued customer is regretted.

– Andy, Aug. 20, 2014

Many had approached BSNL authorities at various levels – while some were asked to wait till last date, many others were plainly asked to pay up or face disconnection. A reader has come up with a novel suggestion of filing RTI too:

Just a thought , How bout everyone start filing RTI asking on what basis the plans were automatically changed withoutconsent. And ask details in RTI for proof on how the consumers were informed.

Tomorrow BSNL may suddenly wake up n change all plans to monthly 1 Lac rental plan , and sendbill of 1 Lac…. will u wait till that day comes?

If one goes through the TRAI website there are regulations that clearly state that a change in plan should be informed well in advance and consumers should be given time to switch to alternative plans.
BSNL in consumer court will have nothing to answer…

– AK, Aug. 28, 2014

We had written to BSNL’s CMD on July 6 and sent a reminder on Aug. 12 on behalf of TelecomTALK readers. No response till date!

In totality, BSNL’s response has at the best been negative so far. Out ofthe nearly 1000 customers who shared their concerns at TelecomTALK, very few have reported that a marginal rebate of 20% was given to them after speaking to BSNL authorities. Several customers also pointed out that of BSNL authorities were not ready to help in any manner. Unity amongst readers was something which we liked the most – when BSNL ignored the loyal customers, readers here were helping each other with suggestions on the further course of action.

Many customers have no Choice

“….there is no other ISP in my area (Jammu)” – Mayank

“I will pay the bill even though it will be in the range of 3000-4000, then gonnafile complaint in consumer forum, also will shift to combo 675 unlimited from next month. As there is no other operator in my area i need to stick with bsnl only” – Saket, Amravati

Thanks to Governments policies and ROI expectations for private operators, good private ISPs are limited to big cities and towns only. 3G can hardly be an alternative due to heavy costs. Again 3G network is patchy at its best! Back at my hometown, even I had to switch the broadband plan to one that provides 512 Kbps speeds, all because there was no other ISP and absolutely no 3G coverage of any operator.

What’s Happening Now?

Due to this unilateral decision implementation by BSNL, those who have a choice have already started switching to other Internet providers. Sample this:

Closed the Dataone broadband connection, changed the voice rental plan from One India to Sulabh (incoming only), they adjust my security at Rs. 60 p.m. so my bill from next month will be Rs. 89.88 LOL. The person who stopped night unlimited plan should be commended for his excellent decision isn’t it? :)) Earlier BSNL got about Rs. 700 per month from me, minimum. This is how they’ll bail BSNL out lol.

– Abhishek, Aug. 25, 2014

Just imagine the revenue drain and customer attrition levels for BSNL if everyone had a choice. Some would have retained landline connections for the sake of identity! A downgrade from Rs. 700 per month to zero for BSNL by just 100 customers would mean revenue dip of Rs. 70000!

Like many BSNL users we are also puzzled by BSNL’s decision to suddenly effect plan changes and provide no support to affected customers, many of them who were with BSNL since years. We could have probably expected lawsuits worth thousands of dollars if the same was done by an ISP in any western country!

What is Wrong with BSNL?

It is certainly disappointing to see a national level ISP doing nothing protect to their revenue interests and consumer interests. On a progressive note India’s pride BSNL, should have been positively aggressive towards charting a growth path and given tough fight to private players. After all, BSNL has all the resources that can be utilized to compete better. The current strategy is only a blessing in disguise for private operators to grow.

Some related questions to BSNL

  • BSNL has long stopped their practice of providing landline devices to customers. Why was this done?
  • BSNL’s broadband modems are obsolete devices. Why not provide modern ones?
  • Why is customer call center still inefficient? The waiting times range from 15 – 45 minutes in some circles.
  • What is preventing BSNL from providing a good website that caters to all customer requirement?
  • Why is BSNL not active on social media particularly for support?
  • Why does it still take 48 working hours to fix a line break?

If anyone from BSNL is reading this article our sincere request to you is to share this article to all concerned personnel. BSNL’s loyal customers are facing hardships and they need your help.

It is certainly not very late for BSNL to stage a comeback!

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