State-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL
) has rolled out voice-over Long Term Evolution (VoLTE) services in some of its circles. Following the rollout of its newly launched 4G service, BSNL
had also begun offering free data to subscribers upgrading to the BSNL 4G SIM. The cash-strapped telecom operator announced in January that subscribers in the Chennai circle who upgrade to a 4G SIM would receive free bonus data.
After releasing the 4G VoLTS in Gujarat, BSNL is now set to roll out the service in Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, and Telangana circles. The 4G service, available in Gandhidham and Anjar, will soon be available across the Gujarat circle.
Response to the Jio effect?
In recent year, BSNL has fallen behind Reliance Jio, which has sold around 50 million Jio phone units since late 2017. The telecom operator has also been the fastest in introducing the 4G network platform to millions of its 2G feature phone users.
Following in Airtel’s footsteps
Telecom operator Bharti Airtel has begun offering VoLTE services in national roaming, enabling users to make HD voice calls, even while roaming. While the service was limited to a few circles when it was launched, Airtel has expanded the service to 21 telecom circles in the last 18 months. And now, BSNL seems to be following the same script.
The cash-strapped telecom company had delayed salaries last month for the first time to most of its workforce, excluding those in Kerala and J&K circles. However, the ailing telco has the lowest debt in the industry of Rs 13,000 crore as of last year, less than market leader Vodafone Idea which has Rs 1.2 lakh crore and Airtel that has Rs 1.06 lakh crore.