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BSNL revenues remain buoyant

Calcutta, Sept. 11: Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) expects to clock a revenue of Rs 24,000 crore by the end of the current financial year. The telecom service provider has already clocked Rs 12, 500 crore before the completion of the first half of 2002-03.

“Last year, we registered a growth of 15 per cent, despite the reduction in tariffs,” said S. D. Saxena, director (finance) of BSNL. “This year, we expect to post a 20 per cent growth.”

Speaking on the introduction of value-added services for customers, Saxena said, “Since the backbone is already in place, we have outlined a range of services in phases. Almost 10 to 15 per cent of the total earmarked investment will be set aside for these services.”

BSNL has outlined an investment of Rs 14,000 crore this year as against Rs 16,000 crore last year.

Saxena said around 3.5 crore customers from across the country owe the company over Rs 3,000 crore. In Calcutta alone, the company has to recover Rs 140 crore of accumulated dues from subscribers. He added that the recovery of this huge amount was essential to help improve the rollback into providing a gamut of services.

As part of its efforts to provide convenient services to customers, BSNL has tied-up with ICICI Bank to facilitate payment of bills through 430 ATMs across the country for Calcutta Telephones subscribers. The facility will be introduced in a phased manner in 30 cities over the next four months.

BSNL chairman and managing director Prithipal Singh said, “We are speaking to HDFC, Standard Chartered, HSBC, Citibank, State Bank of India and UTI Bank to provide payment facilities through their ATMs.”

BSNL is also working out its interconnectivity dispute with VSNL. The stalemate is expected to be resolved within the October 1 deadline. However, for some time, it is directing traffic through Bharti and Data Access on a trial basis, just in case things don’t work out with VSNL.

Singh launched the internet telephony service — Webfone — which will facilitate long distance overseas calls at one-fourth the current rates. There are also plans to introduce VoIP in two months.

The PSU is considering providing recharging facilities of pre-paid cards after the official launch of its cellular service in October.

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