Faced with a slowdown due to the emergence of the pan-India competitor Reliance Jio, state-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd has halved the price of its unlimited 2 Mbps DSL broadband plan to 599 per month.
The player was earlier offering unlimited 2 Mbps for Rs 1,199.
Though cheap by the company’s standards, the earlier offer was nevertheless not a value for money offering when compared with schemes from private Internet providers such as cable networks.
However, on the plus side, the plan offered unlimited calls to any network in India at any time.
The launch of Reliance Jio’s ultra-cheap 4G tariffs has turned the market upside down.
The 4G operator offers 56 GB of data for Rs 509 per month.
This offer is able to cater to the needs of most people, including those who watch an hour or two of video per day. It also bundles unlimited calls to any network as part of the plan.
As a result, many users have an option of paying Rs 1,350 per month, including taxes, to BSNL or Rs 509 to Jio.
Moreover, Jio’s services are available everywhere that BSNL is present in, including rural and semi-urban markets — the bread and butter of the state-owned company.
The 599 plan has been introduced under the code BBGCOMBO UL 599, and does not displace the earlier 1,199 scheme, which has been modified.
There is also a key difference between the two plans in calling privileges. While the more expensive plan offers free calling 24 hours a day, daytime calls are chargeable in the cheaper version.
Meanwhile, the company also tweaked the data allowance in the Rs 1,199 plan to make it more attractive in the wake of the new offers.
Instead of offering unlimited Internet at 2 Mbps, it will now give a speed of 4 Mbps up to 50 GB. After that, the speed will be reduced to 2.
BSNL has the widest network of wired broadband in India. However, the company has the highest charges of any ISP in the country.
Till about a year ago, BSNL was offering only around 10-12 GB of usage per month on plans that cost in the range of Rs 1000 per month including taxes.
This ensured that in areas where cable operators and rival players like Bharti Airtel were present, BSNL did not retain its customers.
However, given that the company does not face any competition in about 50% of its service areas, it was still able to retain many users. But Jio’s launch has changed the competition matrix once again for the player.