Chennai: In what seems to be one of the biggest marketing efforts to stay afloat in the mobile phone service business, the BSNL plans to bring nearly 10 lakh subscribers under the umbrella of one CUG (closed user group) through the TN police.
The TN government had decided to give 1.2 lakh BSNL SIM cards to the police department from constable to DGP and ministerial staff along with an offer from the BSNL that each of them can avail 7 additional family CUG cards on personal payment of yearly rental charges of Rs 64 per SIM, which he or she can give to family members, taking the total number of SIMs to a possible 9.6 lakh.
Senior police and government officials claim that BSNL has offered competitive rates and features which add to its other inherent advantages of being a public sector entity with coverage in the remotest of areas. All ranks of the department from director general of police to constable including ministerial staff will be covered through the scheme. “The current coverage is about 12,181 personnel at a cost of Rs 2.05 crores. The actual strength of TN police is around 1.20 lakh personnel. Now the entire police personnel will be covered in the modified CUG at an annual cost of Rs 3.288 crore,” an official noted.
In the new scheme, practically all official calls made by any rank from constable to DGP will be covered under CUG and will be free. The scheme also offers 50 free SMSs. While CUG numbers in the previous scheme were designation based, in the modified scheme, numbers will be given to a particular officer which s/he can maintain till retirement. Family SIM cards will be supplied free of cost. This means that most of his / her personal calls are also covered under the CUG and are free. “It will be better if the BSNL allows number portability in the scheme for us if we are using mobile numbers of other service providers,” an officer noted.
The BSNL has also agreed for post-paid CUG to senior officers, which will be linked to the larger prepaid CUG. Officers will be able to continue to use their current BSNL numbers which will be made part of CUG. They will have to continue to bear the rentals for their post-paid connections. Reimbursement provision for this is rs1,200 per month.