BSNL, MTNL sign pact for pan-India services

BSNL, MTNL sign pact for pan-India servicesPublic sector undertakings Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL) said that they are working jointly to offer free roaming service to all their customers.

For example, at present MTNL and BSNL do not impose roaming charges for mobile Internet services on each other’s customers in the National Capital Region (NCR), except Delhi. Both the companies said they will also work for similar arrangement for phone calls.

“In the NCR, leaving Delhi, where a BSNL customer is on roaming, he is not charged for it. We would like to enlarge that area individually on pan-India basis so that mobile customer does not pay any fee for roaming,” R.K. Upadhayay, Chairman and Managing Director, BSNL, told reporters here.

Upadhayay said both BSNL and MTNL are working on mechanisms to reduce charges levied on customers when they are on roaming and would gradually waive them off.

“We have made certain packages in pre-paid where roaming is allowed on payment of small amount, but yes, once this synergy are there we will work out to have similar situation for voice also,” A.K. Garg, CMD, MTNL, said.

Pan-india solutions

The firms have also signed a memorandum of understanding for providing pan-India solutions to customers, including mobile communications, infrastructure sharing and enterprise business for their information technology and telecom services.

“This is a first step in their synergy. They have to swim together. Together they make a very formidable combination,” Telecom Secretary, M.F. Farooqui said.

However, both the companies said the agreement between the two does not include joint tendering process and would continue to rope in separate vendors for sourcing solutions.

The infrastructure to be shared includes buildings, ducts, mobile towers, International long distance and other facilities required for serving corporate clients. The idea is to let customers feel both networks as single network and need not bother for anything, said both the CMDs.

“Most of the enterprise customers are headquartered in Delhi and Mumbai. We expect to garner more than Rs 2,000 crore (this financial year) from enterprise segment after this agreement with MTNL,” Upadhyay said.

Similarly, Garg of MTNL said the company expects to generate Rs 100 crore more revenue from its enterprise business.

The move is part of a plan to revive BSNL and MTNL in the wake of huge losses and heightened competition. While private players such as Bharti Airtel and Vodafone have pan-India network, BSNL does not have presence in Delhi and Mumbai. Similarly, MTNL is restricted to the two metros.

Single entity

The new partnership is aimed at providing the two companies an opportunity to compete as a single entity. Earlier, the Government had thought about merging the two companies but complications related to employees and de-listing MTNL came in the way.

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