To compete with Reliance Jio’s free voice call offer, state-owned operator BSNL has decided to cut tariffs to retain its customer base.
Times of India reported that BSNL is planning to follow Jio in offering free voice calling on its network. If announced, BSNL will be the first telco in the country to cut tariffs after the commercial launch of Reliance Jio earlier this month.
At present, Jio offers free voice call for 4G subscribers and free data for three months. The report said that BSNL is, however, planning to extend this free voice call offer to 2G and 3G users as well.
“We are closely observing the market as well as Jio's performance. We will also come up with lifetime free-voice plans from the new year as part of fresh offerings,” the TOI report quoted BSNL Chairman and MD Anupam Shrivastava as saying.
The report mentioned that BSNL may announce the zero-voice tariff plans from January next year and these would be lower than the Rs-149 entry price of Jio.
“We plan to be even lower than the Jio plan, and this could be by Rs 2-4,” Shrivastava added.
Shrivastava informed that the plan will be offered to BSNL's mobile customers who also have a broadband connection at home.
The PSU had earlier termed Jio's entry into the market as a ‘challenge’ for all operators and said that it will match the intense competition ‘tariff-by-tariff’.
Jio shook the telecom industry by introducing plans that include free voice calling, free national roaming, and data at fraction of the cost of incumbents. And any such decision by BSNL will further put pressure on Airtel, Vodafone and Idea to slash tariffs.
BSNL is the largest provider of fixed telephony and broadband services with more than 60 per cent market share and fifth largest mobile telephony provider in India. It is also the country’s oldest communication service provider and had a customer base of over 9.3 crore as of June 2015.
BSNL has footprints throughout India except for Mumbai and New Delhi, which are managed by Mahanagar Telephone Nigam (MTNL).