Jammu and Kashmir has long seen monopoly by BSNL as far as home based internet services, more specifically broadband services, are concerned. The monopoly, which provided all the space to BSNL to capitalise and become the best in the state, was only an opportunity wasted away by the state owned telecommunications company.
There is no question that BSNL has the largest base of post-paid consumers in Jammu and Kashmir. The telecom operator has only further moved closer to its own funeral, by providing third-rated network with an awfully high rate of call drops, appalling 2G services and ofcourse, it is widely accepted across J&K that BSNL is no shining example of 3G services. That aside, the focus here is to discuss the ill-planned launch of the 2mbps speeds for everyone.
The BSNL promise of an upgrade to 2mbps speeds for everyone, will fall flat as a gimmick that reeks of an amateurish design. I am not saying this, these are the words of officials employed by the telecom giant.
So the idea behind an upgrade to 2 mbps line is this, ‘Even BSNL can provide 2 mbps speeds’. That this upgrade is achievable is not the debate here, the problem lies in the monthly plans. Highly placed officials who do not wish to be named in BSNL Jammu confirmed that the plans will still be Unlimited with Differential Speed (ULD). This BSNL term means that after a certain download limit the speeds will fall back to the original 512kbps. Such plans with 2mbps speeds falling to 512kbps already exist so no change in that.
The change is being brought in the base plans of Rs. 545 and Rs. 675 and the revelation about the download limit makes it a joke. These plans offer an unlimited download with a paltry 512kbps speed. After the upgrade, though the consumers will experience 2mbps, it would only remain for a pathetic limit of 1GB. 1 GB? Really? BSNL what were you thinking?
In the age of extremely high information exchange over the internet, 1GB is the left-over wine in the glass that no one cares about.
‘BSNL Jitni tum pila rahe ho paimane mein, utni hum chod diya karte the maikhaane mein’
The above may be my personal modification of the legendary dialogue from Sharaabi, but it reflects where BSNL’s planning has gone wrong.
Come December, Reliance 4G services are expected to start in Jammu and Kashmir. Aircel has already launched its 4G services in the state after doing decently in the 3G domain. Airtel might also go pan India in providing 4G services even if in a phased manner. It is already widely known that mobile phones consumption of internet beats computer usage of internet hands down. BSNL could have worked on improving the 3G services but focused in an area which is already becoming irrelevant.
Second, the BSNL upgrade to 2mbps with only 1GB download is probably an attempt to lure those consumers with base plans to choose a higher download plan. This strategy should fetch BSNL zilch. The fact that BSNL is only providing 1GB download to the base user will not distract the user from buying a new phone connection with better 3G or 4G services. Also, BSNL may not increase the existing download limits on higher plans. This will further become a problem.
In all the bigger cities, there exists stiff competition and the result is unlimited download plans by all internet service providers at cheap pricing. With the upcoming launch of 4G services by three players, the pricing will be competitive and thus relying on your phone’s connection will be the safest bet. BSNL could have simply increased the download limits on existing plans and would have seen higher retention than there will be once the private players sink their nails in the Jammu and Kashmir market. Beware BSNL!