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Monday, November 12, 2007

BSNL Chennai Telephones-Exerience account

This is an experience account on BSNL Chennai telephones excel prepaid connection, drafted on a different style (Third person narration), hope it makes a good reading.

Earlier last month, when eNidhi India CBO (Chief Blogging Officer) landed in Chennai he needed a new mobile connection. After using Vodafone (Formerly Hutch) for over two years in Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad, he decided to try some different service provider this time.

Though there’s a general perception that anything run by Government is bad, our CBO decided to try BSNL excel prepaid service, due to following reasons:

1. Some of his relatives have been using BSNL prepaid service in Karnataka for over 2 years and they were quite happy with its service

2. BSNL call rates are cheaper than other operators

3. BSNL broad band service is far far better compared to rivals Airtel and Tata Indicom. (As experienced by many friends who are using it)

4. Couple of reviews rated “Very Useful” in consumer review websites about BSNL gave good overall opinion about BSNL

5. In their initial days prepaid SIM cards of BSNL Excel used to be sold in black for thousands of rupees, people used to wait for months to get their connection. Things have improved thousand times at present and connections are available almost immediate.

6. Vodafone Hyderabad (formerly Hutch) used to torture our CBO a lot with all unsolicited marketing calls regarding their sundry recharge offers, caller tunes etc, despite registering with them not to disturb. He was hoping BSNL will not disturb him that way (Read: Ladies who call me everyday)

7. Since BSNL is in business for quite long time we at eNidhi India were expecting them to have good infrastructure and better voice clarity and service.

Hence he went to a BSNL franchise and filled an application for prepaid connection, submitted documents, made the payment. he was given an option to select a sim card and he chooses one. It was Friday evening. He was told it will be activated within few hours or latest by tomorrow (Saturday 11AM). As a pleasant surprise, they gave him an umbrella with BSNL logo on it. (It is of very poor build which eNidhi India Business Analysts valuate at Rs 63 ). He was happy to get this unexpected gift and left the store.
BSNL umbrella
Nothing happened by Saturday 11 am and when he went and enquired, the lady there pulled out his form, kept it on top of the bundle of other applications and told “it will be done by 1pm sir”. Nothing happened by 1PM as well and it was finally activated by evening (he could make outgoing calls). He’s finally happy and gave the number to all his contacts. Next day he received couple of mails saying they tried to call him but couldn’t. Taken aback he tried to call on his number from a friends cell and got a voice message that the number you’re trying to reach is suspended. Our CBO called BSNL customer care to check what it is and they simply told “wait for some more time sir, incoming will be activated soon”. He had no idea they will activate outgoing after one day, local incoming after 2 day and STD incoming after 2 days etc. Finally by Sunday evening incoming was activated.

Now, he attempted making outgoing calls. To his shock the clarity was pathetic. Breaking voices, inaudibly low voice, unexpected disconnections. He was not expecting that and such a service simply doesn’t serve anyone’s purpose. He struggled to manage for next few days as the clarity was pathetic both at his office as well as at residence. By Wednesday he had suffered several instances of not being able to attend the call properly. Some calls he couldn’t hear what other person was speaking, some calls got cut abruptly while additional money and effort was spent by himself and his caller trying to call back each other. As this started affecting his credibility and work, he had to call an emergency meeting of eNIdhi India Board of Directors (consists of only one person called Shrinidhi Hande) at eNidhi India global headquarters to discuss corrective measures for this.

eNidhi India CBO (Chief Blogging Officer) Shrinidhi Hande suggested that we should abandon this BSNL connection and go for a new connection with a different service provider and requested the board to approve (and fund) this initiative.

eNidhi India CTO (Chief Technology Officer) Shrinidhi Hande explained the board that poor voice clarity is a problem specific to service provider as the earlier Vodafone connection on which he was roaming in Chennai had very good clarity. eNidhi India CFO (Chief Financial Officer) Shrinidhi Hande explained the financials involved: The prepaid connection had resulted in an expenditure of Rs 249 plus Rs 2 (for photocopying identity proof). Of this Rs 63 was recovered by means of Net Asset Value of that BSNL Umbrella and another 30 Rs by means of talktime that came with the card. Further the scheme had one year validity and had 365 SMSs free, which can be evaluated at Rs. 36.5. Shifting to new connection would mean a loss of Rs 151.5 on the investment made. Since BSNL call rates being lower, the money that will be lost in terms of excess amount spent on calls and SMS was roughly evaluated at Rs 50 per month.

eNidhi India COO (Chief Operational Officer) Shrinidhi Hande explained with power point presentation (with embedded flash animation for effect!) that opportunity cost of not being able to receive a call and talk properly exceeds the cost of taking new connection and price difference. He also suggested that the sim card being valid for one year, can be preserved to ensure business continuity in case of problems with new number.

Finally the board approved taking new connection and global tenders were floated for the same. eNidhi India CBO Shrinidhi Hande decided to personally examine the tenders and went to The Mobile Store in Thiruvanmiyur to check Aircel, Airtel, and Vodafone. The pricing were almost similar, though Airtel was fractionally expensive. Deciding to try Airtel, he zeroed in on one number and asked the store executive to activate it. One phone call and 2 minutes is all it took for full activation of the sim card and the executive recharged it soon after that. Our CBO made the payment and was given a tamil movie DVD (Moserbaer cheap movie DVD-details here) of MRP Rs 34, but NAV (Net Asset Value) of Rs. 0 since our CBO don’t know Tamil.

eNidhi India project crack team initiated various measures necessary to ensure smooth migration to new number. Email and SMS communication was triggered to all key stake holders about the new number and earlier excel sim card was decommissioned sine die. Because of this unbudgeted expense and overhead, eNidhi India had to write off an amount of Rs 451.5 (Rs 151.5 + Rs 50*6 months) and revise annual revenue guidelines downwards by 15 basis points.

That is the story of how BSNL lost a prospective customer and a private player cashed in on the opportunity.

Update: The Mobile store people didn’t send our CBO’s ID and Address proof documents to Airtel Office in time-4 days after activation of new connection our CBO got an SMS alert to submit identity and address proofs at the earliest. Upon enquiry at the Mobile store he was told “We’ll send it today Sir


Disclaimer: Poor audibility and voice clarity was observed at author’s place of stay and place of work during his initial few days of usage. Network coverage and signal strengths vary depending on location, number of users and several other factors. Individual experiences may vary.

9 comments :

Anonymous said...

Very good narration, U got a gr8 ability to narrate a min story in 10-15 min... Y dont u try ur hand in our Sandalwood as script writer...
B/w send me ur new no.

JOJO

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Thanks JOJO,

I've mailed you at your company ID.

hari said...

I don't know about CellOne, but the broadband is excellent (although the bandwidth limit is not unlimited - you have to pay extra for using extra bandwidth)

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Hari,

I have mentioned in the beginning that DataOne service is relatively better...

I think for Rs 900 per month you get unlimited usage.

Logesh TamilSelvan said...

Hey Shri..
i'm glad you're in Chennai..
will call you in ur AIRTEL number shortly.. i got it from HARI..
Will try to meet this weekend

Shrinidhi Hande said...

You're welcome Logesh

Sarvesh said...

Shri,

Very interesting read and thanks for answering my answers one of my queries before in this post.

Good work. I was all along loyal to Airtel while in India.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Not sure which of your query I have answered. Anyway you're welcome.

Nidhi

Anonymous said...

Just popping in to say nice site.