BSNL Losing Wireline Market Share Despite Offering Cheaper Plans



Due to a weaker brand image, BSNL (Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited) has been losing market share in the wireline segment for consecutive quarters now. The telco has very competitive offerings for customers in the fiber broadband segment. Just to compare, Airtel and Jio have pricier offerings than BSNL when it comes to fiber broadband. Airtel Xstream Fiber’s most affordable plan comes for Rs 499 per month, while Jio’s most affordable plan comes for Rs 399. Airtel offers 40 Mbps speed with its Rs 499 plan, and Jio offers 30 Mbps speed with its Rs 399 plan.

For a very long time, BSNL offered an even cheaper option at Rs 329 with 20 Mbps of speed. Not just that, for months, BSNL ran a promotion offer wherein it was offering a new connection for 75 days with the Rs 275 plan. This meant that BSNL’s services were way too affordable, even when compared with the services of Jio. However, being more affordable didn’t help BSNL with growth in business. In fact, the telco only lost its market share in the wireline subscribers market.

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Reliance Jio is the leading ISP (internet service provider) in the wireline segment, while BSNL is at the second rank currently. Airtel is very close to overtaking BSNL in this area and pushing the state-run telco down to the third rank. It is not even that BSNL doesn’t offer fiber services to users. Under the Bharat Fibre brand, BSNL has been offering fiber internet services throughout the nation. BSNL’s services are also present in the rural areas of the country.

To make its offerings more competitive, BSNL also offers OTT (over-the-top) bundled broadband plans to customers. But sadly, the state-run telco has not been the first choice of many consumers in the country lately, and that is why it is also losing wireline market share. What’s going wrong for BSNL?

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Lack of Trust and a Weaker Brand Hurting the Business

At the end of the day, it is not about how affordable the services are; what matters is how trustworthy and reliable they are. Due to a poor brand image against the likes of Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel, BSNL has been losing out on customers in the broadband segment as well. Success is also about how innovative the services can be. Jio offers a Set-Top Box (STB), and Airtel also offers the Xstream Box, while you get no such thing from BSNL with its broadband plans.

Note that Airtel’s Xstream Box requires a nominal amount to be paid by the customer. Airtel and Jio are reaching more and more parts of the country with their services, and BSNL can’t even expand as fast as the private telcos because of cash flow issues. Don’t forget about the status of the wireless subscriber market share of BSNL, which is also declining.

To flip things over, BSNL would have to create a strong brand presence and provide great services to existing customers. Currently, BSNL’s most affordable plan comes for Rs 399, and it offers 30 Mbps of speed to customers.