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BSNL plans revamp of landline services

State-run BSNL is planning to invest around Rs 400 crore to transform its landline services that will bring a host of modern facilities including video calling and free call transfer from mobile phones, by end of this financial year.

"We have started process of converting all our exchanges in to NGN (Next Generation Network) exchanges. This will bring to landlines all facilities that are currently available on mobile phones like video calling, call transfer, directory among others," BSNL Chairman and Managing Director R K Upadhyay said.

The BSNL CMD said there are total of 37,639 exchanges out of which 30,008 exchanges are based on technology from C-DoT and rest from imported technology.

"Conversion of C-DoT exchanges in to NGN exchange will require very less amount. Those based on imported technology will involve cost for which we have floated tender. We estimate it will cost between Rs 300-400 crore," he said.

The NGN technology will bring modern services to customers like call transfer facility from a mobile phone to the landline when the user is at his/her home, Upadhyay said.

"At present, call transfers from mobile to another mobile phone is charged but we will provide call transfer from mobile to landline free of cost when the person is inside his home," he said.

BSNL will also push for adoption of NGN-based fixed line connection among corporate customers as these phones can be converted in to a small exchange for transferring calls within an organisation via the extension number route for employees.

"These are some of the initial services that will be available on phone. We will provide a host of value-added services on a single phone as we proceed. We expect to complete this project by end of this fiscal," Upadhyay said.

BSNL commands a 69 per cent market share in wireline segment. According to TRAI data, the wireline subscriber base declined from 31.53 million at the end of May, 2012 to 31.43 million at the end of June, 2012.

At the end of June, BSNL had over 21.7 million wireline subscribers compared to 98.27 million mobile phone subscribers.

The BSNL CMD said the new-generation fixedline phones will reduce operational and maintenance costs for the company.

"These services can be easily maintained. Landline phones have declined after advent of mobile phones but as we move ahead, the demand for these connections is bound to grow due to demand in broadband services. A single phone can be made instrument of empowerment," he said.

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