After several years of successful operation, BSNL which is one of the largest operator of telecom services in Jammu and Kashmir is finally huffing and puffing like another public sector unit. BSNL had the first mover advantage in the state as it launched the mobile services for the first time, and its performance has been fairly good as well. It seems the law of average have caught with BSNL as well because subscribers from across the state are now alleging poor service quality, poor call quality, frequent call drops, and internet service which is slow and breaks down at the drop of a hat.
The problem is especially acute in Jammu, Kathua, and Samba which have a large number of subcribers. Subscribers allege that BSNL phones don’t connect, and even if the call happens, the drops are frequent. The problem is especially acute in border areas where the number of cell phone towers is less. The launch of 3G services has further aggravated the matters as majority of subscribers have smart phones consuming lot of internet the capacity for which is limited. It also leads to frequent call drops.
BSNL officials when probed admitted that there were issues with service but said that they could not augment the mobile phone infrastructure because of the flash floods in 2014. The company had plans to set up around 70 cell phone base receiver stations but the project had to be shelved because of floods. A large number of the towers were also badly damaged which put further pressure on the existing infrastructure, said authorities. Majority of the complaints being made to BSNL are coming from Jammu, and its outskirts as people here primarily rely on the psu for mobile connectivity.
Critics however allege that BSNL is slowly ceding space to private operators as it has far less mobile tower base stations as compared to private operators who are spreading their network far and wide. But the problem with private companies is that they prefer to serve only those areas which have a very high density of population, and are not worried about the far-flung and backwards areas which are not financially very lucrative.If BSNL continues to neglect the expansion of infrastructure it is most certainly going to lose subscribers, and ensure that private companies take over the telecom industry in the state.