Videsh Sanchar Nigam Limited (VSNL) has touched an Internet subscriber-base of 6.5 lakh as on September 30. The country’s largest Internet service provider has added around 80,000 users in the first six months of the current financial year. The company is targeting a subscriber’s base of 10 lakh in the current financial year.
According to VSNL officiating director KP Tiwari, the slowdown in the economy could affect the growth of Internet user-base in the coming months. He said the company has maintained the growth over the past few months despite tough competition from private Internet service providers. VSNL has been adding 12,000-15,000 subscribers per month and expect the trend to continue.
Since the opening up of the Internet sector for private operators, VSNL’s marketshare has taken a beating. Companies like Satyam, Bharti, Wipro, MTNL, Pacific Internet, Caltiger, Data Access etc, are the major players posing challenges to VSNL’s leadership in the last few months.
Recently, VSNL has reduced the price of its regular dial-up access package by 25 per cent to Rs 750 (per 100 hours), less than a month after it increased the price to Rs 999 on September 3. The new rate will be exclusive of the five per cent service tax imposed on ISPs in July.
The Rs 750 package has a three year validity period and comes with free night access. Currently, VSNL has a dial-up subscriber-base of 6.3 lakh.
The company is planning to cover 22 cities by March 2002 against the present 17 with a total investment of Rs 100 crore.