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BSNL may invest Rs 1,200 cr in AP
Phalguna Jandhyala in Hyderabad | July 13, 2004 10:54 IST
Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited plans to invest around Rs 1,200 crore (Rs 12 billion) for infrastructure improvement and capacity upgradation in the Andhra Pradesh circle.
Speaking to Business Standard, Sanjaya Kumar, chief general manager, BSNL (Andhra Pradesh telecom circle), said that the proposal for the funds has been already sent and they expect to get around Rs 800 crore (Rs 8 billion) during the current financial year.
"Out of the total funds allotted, around Rs 400 crore (Rs 4billion) would be invested on improving the facilities of CellOne -- BSNL's national cellular service – and about Rs 400 crore on the improvement of direct internet access service (DIAS) and fixed line telephones," Kumar said.
"The plan is to increase the teledensity in the state from the existing 4.86 per 100 connections to 20 per hundred connections," he added.
According to Kumar, BSNL plans to issue around 1 crore (10 million) connections across the country by the end of the year.
"In the state circle, we expect to add another 12 lakh (1.2 million) customers to the existing 5,81,564 customers during the course of the year," he said. Kumar said that Excel, the pre-paid subscription, was more popular with a base of 4,11,810 customers.
The equipment for 1.32 lakh (132,000) has already been commissioned, Kumar said.
"We would add around two lakh customers by the end of August and 9.63 lakh (963,000) lines during December-January period for which tenders are under finalisation," he added.
According to Kumar, expansion of services in the existing cities and covering 11 new cities was underway. Kumar said that by the end of the fiscal, BSNL plans to add another 300 towns.
Responding to the problems of the availability of the BSNL recharge cards, Kumar said that from the second week of July onwards more cards would be released in to the market.
"We are also exploring the possibility of having some sort of an arrangement with phone booths of BSNL and retail outlets to sell the start-up kits as well as recharge cards," Kumar said.
Kumar also said that the possibility of recharge cards being delivered to the doorstep of customers was being explored.
"The tentative plan is to implement this by the last quarter of the current fiscal. Once implemented it would make BSNL more competitive among all the cellular services providers," Kumar said.
On the wireless in local loop services, Kumar said that there were plans for around 4.39 lakh (439,000) lines in rural areas and 1.76 lakh (176,000) lines in the urban areas of WLL services. "This would cover most of the state in WLL services," Kumar added.
The AP telecom region, as against an equipped capacity of 1,29,500 lines, has around 70,638 working connections with 30,933 connection in urban areas and 39,705 rural connections. Another major expansion plan has been put in place for the DIAS services which at present is available only in Hyderabad."By the end of the first quarter, this service would be expanded by another 450 lines. Further, DIAS is going to be extended to nine important towns in the state for which tenders are under the process," Kumar said.