Sulabh Plan in BSNL Details, Tarrif and Application
We don’t know about your experience with BSNL but when it comes to our personal experience, we prefer calling this telecom major of India as ‘a lasting plague’. The only way to not get infected and stressed by this plague is to avoid using it. We remember the days when once the phone went dead, the first servicing call we received was after seven (7) days. So, the phone line being dead, the broadband connection too nosedived into non-existence. That was just one instance of 7 tormenting days of no internet and no telephone connection. And, every time this happened, we rolled back into the now infamous ‘Stone Age’.
However, if you are hell-bent on going for a basic BSNL telephone connection which is known as the Sulabh Plan, here is some bad news for you: “the tariff for this plan has received an upward revision”. What does that mean? Simple! You pay more for the same pathetic service. So, let’s get started and check out what new changes have been implemented.
Let’s begin with, ‘What is Sulabh Plan?’
Forget the fancy name and get down to basics. It is THE MOST basic connection offered by BSNL with following features:
- Only incoming calls allowed.
- Outgoing calls allowed for emergency numbers and toll-free numbers only. Emergency numbers include 100 (that’s what you dial when you want to get involved with the nasty police), 101 (that’s what you dial when your or someone else’s house is on fire), 102 (that’s what you dial when you need to rush to a hospital because of some medical emergency), 198 (that’s what you dial when something goes faulty and you need some repairing work done) and 197 (that’s what you dial when you want to get hold of the directory service).
- If you want to make any outgoing calls, you need to use the Universal India Telephone Card or the UITC which are prepaid cards. Trust us, using a UITC is one heck of a pain we are talking about. Even for using these cards, you are required to pay high rates. You actually need to pay INR 1.20 per call. What if you call for just 30 seconds?
The initial charge for this skeleton plan was INR 99 per month. This was the fixed monthly charge that you needed to pay whether you even used your phone for just receiving calls or not.
Sad story sadder, now you have to pay more. But, there is a small twist in this story. BSNL divides its service zones in terms of exchange capacity. Sorry to say that we don’t really know the exact meaning of ‘exchange capacity’ but we think that it refers to the number of connections that a telephone exchange in a particular area provides.
BSNL divides its zones in following manner:
|Zone||Number of lines|
|Exchange capacity||EC < 30,000|
|EC: 30,000 to 100,000|
|EC > 100,000|
So, the tariff for Sulabh plans are divided accordingly. Lowest tariff goes to the zone which has lowest exchange capacity and highest tariff goes to zone which has highest exchange capacity. Please note that when we say tariff, we actually refer to the fixed charge or rent levied per month.
Isn’t that unfair? For the same plan, different people in different zones need to pay different tariffs.
For instance, in the area we live here in Kolkata, we have 3 different BSNL exchanges. We fall under the largest exchange which serves maximum number of households. It is possibly EC > 100,000 category exchange. Again, hardly 3 kilometers to the south of our home is the medium sized exchange and about 5 kilometers to west is the smallest exchange. We can just visit to exchanges during a casual evening walk! So, why should we pay more for the same plan than others who are living right in our neighborhood? This is unfair! Anyway, our pleas always fall on deaf ears and BSNL looks unmoved.
So coming to tariff revision, if you happen to live in the smallest zone in terms of exchange capacity (i.e. EC < 30,000), you need to pay more now! Here is a quick look at the revision made for this particular band:
|Tariff Revision for Zone: EC < 30,000 lines|
|Features||Old Rates||New Rates|
|FMC or the monthly rent||INR 99.00||INR 110.00|
|Incoming calls||Always free||Always free|
|Outgoing calls (O.C.)||Not Available||Not Available|
|Free O.C. allowance||Nope||Nope|
|UITC card of O.C.||Depend on tariff of ITC card||Depend on tariff of ITC card|
|Optional O.C. to any network||INR 1.20 per call||INR 1.20 per call|
What is this optional Outgoing Call to any network? Well, BSNL has actually started offering outgoing call options for Sulabh Plan. This means that in case you want to make an outgoing call to any network, you can now do so but will be charged at 1.20 rupees per call where per call actually refers to per minute or 60 seconds of calling. That’s nasty expensive!
In case you are in any other zone, i.e. EC: 30,000 to 100,000 lines or EC > 100,000 lines, you really don’t need to pay anything extra. You are already paying more than those in EC < 30,000 zone. Just to mention, this new tariff plan has already been implemented across the nation since May 1, 2015.