Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL)’s office premises will soon be dotted with ATMs and commercial hoardings across Hyderabad and outside as the public sector telecom company’s AP circle is trying to create a parallel revenue stream by monetising its assets. “In Hyderabad, we have already signed up with State Bank of India and Indian Overseas Bank for renting out our premises to set up 25 ATMs each. Private banks like HDFC and Kotak Mahindra have also approached us for similar arrangement, which we are considering,” said V Srinivasan, chief general manager of the AP circle.
The AP circle has made a headway in this respect after creating a separate business vertical to generate revenues by renting out its premises as well as telecom towers to private sector players. Srinivasan believes mobilising additional revenues is the only way to come out of the losses as the AP circle continues to face the dwindling landline customer base as well as the huge employee costs.
Net losses incurred by the circle stood at Rs 600 crore after earning Rs 2,200 crore revenues last year. With 27,000 employees, most of whom were recruited for landline services, it stands as the largest among all the telecom circles in India.
“Yet, the AP circle was among the only three circles to have shown over 3 per cent growth in revenues in the first half of the current financial year. We hope to continue this performance if not better it for the full year,” he said.
The AP circle’s landline customer base has come down to 1.8 million this year from 1.9 million last year even as its 9 million mobile phone subscriber base is expected to surpass the revenues of its landline business first time in the current year, according to Srinivasan. The company has been able to hold on to the landline customers by offering add-on broadband connectivity besides holding periodic ‘Reconnection Melas’ to get back the estranged customers. During the last four such reconnection melas starting July, 2011, the company was able to achieve 220,000 reconnections, which form 10 per cent of the total disconnections, besides collecting Rs 15 crore in bill dues and some new subscriber base, according to him.
BSNL launched yet another round of this reconnection drive in the state from Thursday.