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Tuesday, Jan 28, 2003

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BSNL to offer add-ons free — Some good news for subscribers

G. Rambabu


IT is not all bad news for landline subscribers who will be forced to pay higher rentals and tariffs starting April. There is some good news too.

Telecom behemoth Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) which has a near-monopoly across the country, has decided to offer its 35 million subscribers, the value-added services for free.

Currently, subscribers have to pay anywhere between Rs 20 and Rs 30 per month for many of the facilities such as caller line identification presentation (CLIP), hotline, abbreviated dialling and call forwarding.

According to official sources, a circular to this effect has been issued to all the area circles and the order will be implemented soon. Subject to technical feasibility and availability, the subscribers who apply for the services will be granted the facility on a first come, first serve basis.

The sources noted that BSNL had been contemplating this move for sometime now and with competition hotting up from the private operators, it only makes sense to lure customers with these freebies.

As it is, some value added services such as call-waiting, call-hunting, dynamic locking, and wake-up call services are already being given free of charge.

The free CLIP facility will be provided only after production of purchase receipt of interface approved CLI indicator. The subscriber has to buy separately the CLIP display device from market. Currently, a charge of Rs 30 per month plus one time processing fee of Rs 30 is applicable for this facility.

The hotline facility, which enables the subscriber to get connected to another telephone of his choice without dialling the telephone number, is now available at a cost of Rs 20 per month. After the arrangement is made for the subscriber by the exchange and after five seconds of lifting the handset, the connection to the hotline number is automatically established. Once the hotline connection is established, the call will be charged as per a normal call (local, NSD, or ISD, as the case may be). The abbreviated dialling facility, on the other hand, enables the subscriber to have his own two digit codes for frequently called telephone number. It is possible to program these numbers as abbreviated codes of one or two digits. A maximum of 20 numbers can be programmed for abbreviated dialling. It is ideal for STD/ISD and a charge of Rs 20 per month is applicable at present for this facility.

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