BSNL’s Affordable Plans Still Come at a Cost




BSNL (Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited) is a loss-making telecom operator surviving on the back of relief packages. Had it been a private telecom operator, it would have shut down by now. The government is pushing BSNL to deliver network services in rural parts of the nation. There were reports that BSNL would be providing 4G services in rural India where high-speed broadband services are not available. But that seems like a big promise when the technology has not even rolled out.

The state-run telco offers its services at the lowest tariffs in the industry. It wouldn’t even make sense if BSNL matched the tariffs of the private telecom operators as it is still majorly providing legacy network services. It is worth noting that however affordable the services may be; they still come at a cost.

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The cost to the consumers is not just money here. It is also the opportunity that faster networks can enable. That said, being a 2G and 3G user is by choice today. Anyone on BSNL’s legacy network could switch to a private telco’s 4G network. However, there are still consumers who are paying for BSNL’s inferior service and expecting a decent quality experience.

What consumers basically want is value for the money they are paying. Frankly, even though BSNL’s services are more affordable, they are still priced at a level which is not fair. I say this because BSNL has been indirectly increasing tariffs for consumers. There have been many instances now where BSNL has kept the tariff the same but reduced the benefits of the plan without informing the customers. This is a move that doesn’t seem right, given the fact that BSNL is still offering 2G and 3G services primarily.

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When is BSNL’s 4G Coming Now?

The state-run telco will be launching 4G in the second half of 2023. This means that the customers will have to wait even more. While 4G from BSNL is still available in select parts of the country, this time, BSNL will be launching 4G using homegrown technology. However, the way things have happened with BSNL so far, nothing seems to be really concrete.

Thus, if BSNL is saying that it will launch 4G in the second half of 2023, it could mean that it will launch it in 2024. The word ‘delay’ has become synonymous with BSNL now. It is not the telco’s fault for the position it is in. At this point, it doesn’t even make a difference in discussing whose fault it is. What matters is what’s the next move to revive the operator’s business.