BPL Cellular is the company that provides the cellular service in Kerala,
Maharashtra, and Tamil Nadu. With a total subscriber base of 454,883, it has
been the sixth largest company in the country, with a total estimated revenue of
Rs 330 crore. The operator recorded 18 percent growth in its subscriber base
over that in 2000-01. For the company, Maharashtra has been the single largest
contributor in terms of subscriber base at 174,078. Tamil Nadu and Kerala
accounted for 129,149 and 151,656 subscribers respectively. While the company
was the clear leader in Maharashtra in the previous year, in 2001-02, it has
been way behind Idea Cellular which has a total subscriber base of 301,520 in
the circle. In Tamil Nadu and Kerala too, it has been left behind by its
competitors Aircel and Escotel respectively.
It was expected that BPL would have done exceedingly well following its MoU
with Birla-Tata-AT&T to merge their cellular telephony businesses. But BPL
got stuck on the investments and also had to address the issue of Maharashtra
circle, as BPL and Idea Cellular are competitors in the Maharashtra circle.
These developments slowed down the pace of investments for the company, and it
was also grappled with the issue of brand propagation. In the process, the
competition capitalized to grow with the subscriber base. Nonetheless, of late,
the company has started getting aggressive on the data services front.