State-owned telecom firm Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) will set up 1 lakh wi-fi spots across India by March 2019, Chairman and Managing Director Anupam Shrivastava said on Tuesday.
"We have plans to set up 1 lakh wi-fi by March 2019, which include 25,000 for rural areas. The USOF (Universal Service Obligation Fund) will provide financial support for rural wi-fi hotspots," Shrivastava told reporters on the sidelines of launching a GST application for BSNL customers.
The BSNL CMD said the company will invest about Rs 1,800 crore in setting up 70,000 wi-fi hotspots and the USOF is providing a fund of Rs 900 crore, including three years of operation and maintenance for setting up 25,000 hotspots.
"We will set up another 5,000 wi-fi hotspots on revenue share basis and BSNL is not required to invest capital... We are only providing bandwidth," Shrivastava said.
As for the GST app, he said BSNL has selected Masters India that will provide software to customers of the state-run firm.
"At a time when a new entrant has changed the dynamics of doing business in the telecom sector, tariffs are going to rock bottom, we need to explore other models for generating revenue. The GST filing service that we are providing in partnership with Masters India will be on revenue sharing basis and it will attract customers to our network," Shrivastava said.
BSNL GM Finance Y N Singh said any trader on BSNL network can use Masters India's software for free for generating up to 2,000 invoices a year.
"It is a pre-paid service. Beyond 2,000 invoices, charges will apply as per slab rate fixed by the company," Singh said.
Masters India CEO Nishank Goyal said a business house generating 2,000-6,000 invoices will have to pay Rs 1,999 per annum and the firm will have to pay Re 1 per invoice beyond 6,000 invoices generated in a year.