Thiruvananthapuram: Despite the stiff competition in the mobile phone service sector with the introduction of Reliance Jio, the BSNL Kerala circle hopes to increase its customer base to one crore by October. But the plan for launching 4G mobile phone services is still progressing at a snail’s pace. At present, BSNL has a mobile customer base of about 96 lakh. In the next two months, the Kerala circle is hoping to add four lakh customers to cross the one crore mark, according to P. T. Mathew who took over as BSNL Kerala circle chief general manager last month. Mr. Mathew told reporters here on Tuesday that though several customers had been porting-out of BSNL, the number of those porting-in to BSNL from other networks, as well as new customers were keeping the customer base of BSNL going upwards.
“We are offering competitive plans. Moreover, customers have more trust in BSNL because it is a public sector unit. The recent offers by some private players to give free mobile phones may not hit BSNL,” said Mr. Mathew. While one lakh customers ported-out of BSNL in 2016-17 fiscal, the number of customers ported-in to BSNL from other networks was 2.5 lakh. Hence BSNL could gain 1.5 customers. Similarly, during the first four months of this fiscal, 21,602 customers ported-out of the BSNL while 39,242 ported-in. Hence BSNL gained 17,640 customers.
Mr. Mathew also said that 4G services could be expected only by the end of this year or later as the orders for equipment were only placed now. He sought to justify the delay citing the formalities of a public sector undertaking. He also said that BSNL would drastically expand its network by March 2018. Kerala is one of the leading states with regard to mobile data usage with about 25 percent of data usage of BSNL in India. BSNL would be launching 1070 BSNL4G plus wi-fi hotspot at rural exchanges offering 4GB free data per month. BSNL would also be tying up with the police to set up surveillance camera networks in Kollam and Trissur cities on a pilot basis, the CGM said.