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BSNL to appoint associates for direct marketing

Thomas K. Thomas

Bid to meet challenges posed by competition

New Delhi , Nov 22

In a bid to take on competition from private operators, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd has decided to outsource part of its marketing activity to private agencies across the country.

BSNL will appoint business associates for each of the 23 telecom circles to directly market and sell a range of its products including leased lines, broadband services, web hosting, server co-location, landlines and mobile phones. This is the first time that BSNL is attempting a direct marketing initiative. Until now, while BSNL advertised its services aggressively, customers had to approach the company for its products.

The business associates will be appointed on a commission basis. They will also be engaged by BSNL to provide customer support services, for which there would be an additional incentive.

The business associate will have to use its own distribution network for marketing BSNL products on an exclusive basis. Each associate will be given a set of mandatory targets.

Companies with an annual turnover exceeding Rs 5 crore can apply to partner with BSNL. As per competition and market conditions the franchisees will help BSNL offer customers the best deals. These firms will also be responsible for bill collection from BSNL subscribers.

"The move is aimed at making BSNL's products and services available to a far wider customer base. While we have rolled out the infrastructure spread across the country we will now go into the market to proactively acquire subscribers. The business associates will be a one-point stop for consumers wanting telecom services," said a BSNL official. With a number of private operators entering the telecom market, BSNL has been losing its share. Its dominance in the leased line market, telephony and Internet services is likely to come under greater pressure with as many as 10 new operators waiting to enter into these segments.

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