The AP circle of BSNL earned a profit of Rs 500 crore last year. Revenue was Rs 2,900 crore and Rs 800 crore was spent on capital investment.

Our Bureau

Visakhapatnam, July 31

THE Andhra Pradesh Telecom Circle of BSNL is expanding its mobile phone network infrastructure to provide 14 lakh more connections by the end of the current fiscal, according to Mr J. Ramachandra Rao, Principal General Manager (Operations).

"We have a lot of potential and we are confident of adding at least 10 lakh connections by March next," he told newspersons.

The new connections would be in addition to the existing eight lakh connections; 1,400 new towers are being erected to supplement the existing 800 towers at a cost of Rs 40 lakh on each tower on the aggregate, he added.

BSNL has not been able to provide mobile phones on demand but would be likely to be liberal in supply from October in view of more towers being erected, Mr Rao said.

The number of landlines has remained static at 32 lakh.

"We are losing some connections but are able to gain the same number.

"Thus, the number has remained the same for the past seven years."

One of the reasons for disconnection of landlines in rural areas is lack of sufficient rain.

With no agricultural activity and the resultant lack of revenue, people in rural areas are seeking disconnection of landlines.

But he expressed the hope that former customers would return to BSNL as the State received enough rainfall this season.

BSNL is trying to retain the existing number of landlines by improving its service to the customers, Mr Rao said.

"We have changed, but need to change more. Our staff and officers are being trained to provide quality service and be polished in their approach," he added.

Regarding broadband Internet connections, the current number is 12,000, with 10,000 in Hyderabad alone. Main switching stations would be commissioned in Visakhapatnam, Saroornagar, and Ameerpet soon.

The target is one lakh Internet connections by the end of the fiscal.

"There are 200 Internet connections in Visakhapatnam as of now and the waiting list of more than 800 applications will be cleared in a month," said Mr J. Ganta, General Manager. The peripheral areas would be covered during the second phase.

Mr Rao said that the AP circle earned a profit of Rs 500 crore last year.

Revenue was Rs 2,900 crore and Rs 800 crore was spent on capital investment.

This year the revenue target has been increased by 10 per cent and the capital investment would be Rs 1,200 crore.

The Visakhapatnam Telecom District earned Rs 152 crore last year and has been set a target of Rs 170 crore this year.

Mr Ganta said that an upgraded WLL main switch would be commissioned in a few months at the Velempeta exchange in the city.

This is meant mainly for the rural areas but some urban areas would also be covered.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated August 1, 2005)
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