Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Tuesday, Jun 25, 2002
BPL Mobile switching centre in Madurai soon
COIMBATORE, June 24
A MOBILE switching centre (MSC) is being established by BPL Mobile in Madurai very soon. The company had set up its first MSC in Coimbatore, a couple of years back.
The proposed switch in Madurai is expected to enhance the traffic flow in terms of call attempts by another 50 to 60 per cent.
At present, the switch in Coimbatore is able to take call loads of up to two lakh subscribers at any point in time.
"Provision of this switch facility will involve additional investment. As such we are planning to invest about Rs100-crore," Mr Fausto B. Cardoso, President and Chief Executive Officer, BPL Mobile, told Business Line.
He said the company had so far invested Rs 350 crore in Tamil Nadu and this proposed investment was earmarked for the State.
The establishment of the MSC in Madurai is expected to enhance significantly the company's presence. "Our research studies have shown that there is more traffic in the Southern districts," the company's Chief Operating Officer (TN and Kerala), Mr R.A. Venkitachalam observed.
The company has, over the last five years, spread its network in about 65 towns in Tamil Nadu and 70 towns in Kerala.
It is now targeting at covering another 20 towns in each of these States.
Expressing confidence about tapping the mobile telephony market in the State, Mr Cardoso said "the penetration levels are still very low in our country. It is 0.7 per cent and we foresee a huge market. For instance, the mobile telephony industry witnessed a 70 per cent growth last year and we expect the current year's growth to hover around the same level. With more players coming in, the growth can be accelerated further. We look forward to an enhanced growth," he said.
Reverting to the company's policy on leveraging technology in a bid to deliver outstanding value to its customers, Mr Cardoso disclosed that the WIZ 32k (Wirefree Interactive Zone) sim-card would be officially launched within the next fortnight.
"The product has been soft launched and the response has been very good. We are now planning to make an offer to our customers for replacing the 8k sim-card with the 32k sim-card for a nominal charge," he said but remained tight-lipped about the cost.
"It is being worked out," was all he said.
Explaining the add-features of WIZ 32k, he said apart from the enhanced storage, "it offers much more several services. It can be used more like a mobile wallet.
Establishment of galleries and BPL Mobile dealer showrooms have been put on fast track.
The company has about 60 showrooms in Tamil Nadu and 30 in Kerala.
It is planning to take it to 130 within the next three months.
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