BSNL CMD takes a dig at Vodafone over mobile Internet tariff cut

BSNL chairman and managing director R K Upadhyay has criticized Vodafone India’s 80 percent cut in mobile Internet tariff, saying the telecom PSU started offering the same tariff years ago.

At a press meet in Delhi on Friday – to unveil Penta smartphones – BSNL CMD said the telecom operator has been offering the same tariff to its mobile Internet users for some time.

Claiming that BSNL has the largest telecom network in India, the telecom PSU chief said he was surprised to see BSNL rival’s (Vodafone) special promotion campaign that was criticized by the telecom analysts because the offer was applicable on only one tariff plan — Pay as you Go basis.

Interestingly, the special tariff cut for all pre-paid and post-paid customers on 2G from November 1 did not create any similar response from rivals. But Idea Cellular slashed mobile Internet prices across the board.

Though BSNL chief did not name Vodafone, he said he was surprised to see the 80 percent reduction in mobile Internet charges from 10p/10KB to 2p/10KB.

Vodafone earlier said these new PAYG rates, which are the same for both 2G and 3G, are the lowest in market, making them extremely attractive for all customers across the country.

BSNL vodafone war

Earlier, telecom analysts said the cut of 80 percent on 2G/3G plans “is not a meaningful event.”

What is being cut is the out-of-plan pay as you go tariffs from 10p/10kB to 2p/10kB. Even after the discount, the rates are 6x the most expensive 3G plan, and 8x the most expensive 2G plan.

Telecom analysts said the pay as you go tariff is relevant for first time users who would like to try out data usage before committing to a specific monthly plan. It would also be applicable for heavy data users on data usage in excess of monthly allowance. Thus any serious data customers will not be on the pay as you go tariffs for more than a few weeks.

During the press conference, BSNL chief could not answer questions pertaining to its declining revenue, poor customer service, lack of coverage and network, inability to compete with private telecom operators, etc.