BSNL mulls Ericsson’s consulting offer

21 Sep 2009

State-owned Indian telco Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) is understood to be considering a proposal from Swedish vendor Ericsson which would see the latter help with BSNL’s marketing strategies, according to the Hindu Business Line. The report claims that Ericsson has offered its consulting services to BSNL in a bid to help the telco with areas including customer segmentation and 3G marketing. Senior officials at BSNL have confirmed that the two companies are in preliminary negotiations, noting: ‘Ericsson has offered a proposal where it will manage the entire marketing of BSNL’s 3G services including fixing tariffs, promotional campaigns and consumer feedback. We are considering it but no final decision has been made in this regard.’ BSNL has been keen to stress that under the proposed partnership Ericsson will not become a franchisee, nor would it likely consider expanding its role to that of a mobile virtual network operator if and when they are allowed in India. BSNL initially struggled to convince subscribers to switch to 3G services in those areas where it is available, and in the first three months after launch the telco had signed an estimated 8,000 3G subscribers, according to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database. Take-up has improved however, with BSNL last month announcing its 3G subscriber base had risen to 40,000.