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My BSNL Android app to reward you for watching ads, has WhatsApp-style chat feature

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State-owned telecom service provider BSNL has updated its Android app, My BSNL, and has added a whole bunch of features to it. These include the ability to pay utility bills, recharge services, receive point rewards for viewing and engaging with advertisement campaigns, a My BSNL Rewards membership and much more. While the app has been updated and relaunched on the Google Play Store, the iOS version of the app remains the same.

Representational image. Reuters

This app is available to BSNL as well as non-BSNL subscribers. The only catch is that non-BSNL users will not get all the app features such as the newly added chat feature.

For BSNL users, a service called AddFone, which is part of the ‘My BSNL Rewards’ membership feature allows you to chat as well as call the phone numbers present on your address book. The chatting feature is free for BSNL users. This almost makes the app into an OTT service with some features rivalling WhatsApp. Of course, if you are not a BSNL subscriber, then this feature is not available for you, so WhatsApp doesn’t have anything to fear. Moreover, there is no word on whether this feature offers any sort of end to end encryption, although BSNL does say that the it offers secured chats and calls.

My BSNL new features

The other major feature added to the app is rewarding users to watch and engage with advertisements. You will earn points for doing this and these points can either be encashed to be added to some select digital wallet services or they can be used while shopping at BSNL’s partner sites or apps. You can watch ads across 18 categories such as Food & Drink, Health & Wellbeing, Religion, Shopping and so on. The ad-watching program is completely up to the user, you also have the option to opt out of this completely if you are not interested. To be part of the rewards program, you will have to share your basic personal details including hometown, gender, year of birth and more.

BSNL has also partnered with international telcos to provide access to 44 million Wi-Fi hotspots around the world. The international Wi-Fi plan costs Rs 501 and can be accessed through the My BSNL app. A feature called ‘Fancy Numbers’ lets you buy special phone numbers of your choice after you have submitted your address and ID proof.

My BSNL app features

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