Airtel declares broadband war on Jio

The Mittal-led telco will bundle customised Android-based smart set top box for fast broadband speed.


KOLKATA: Bharti Airtel is pulling out all stops to take on Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Jio Infocomm’s home broadband offerings. Come September, the Sunil Mittal-led telco will bundle a customised Android-based smart set top box (STB) to deliver converged digital entertainment and fast broadband services, aimed at matching JioFiber’s upcoming offerings. 
Airtel’s Android STB is likely to come bundled with a host of new-look, integrated tariff packs that will target midto-top end post-paid mobile users, home broadband and direct-to-home (DTH) digital TV customers, treating them as unified home users of the company’s converged telecom services, two people with direct knowledge said. 
Airtel may also selectively bundle a free HD/LED television along with the set top box on super-premium tariff packs to specifically counter Jio-Fiber’s ‘Welcome Offer’ to home broadband customers, they added. 
Bharti Airtel, it is learnt, has internally piloted an integrated billing system in Chandigarh, Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh, and is ready to operationalise it nationally from next month. 
“Airtel has sizeable customer numbers across its post-paid mobile, home broadband and DTH platforms…The objective is to use hardware resources and leverage existing customer relationships across the three lines of business to take an integrated view of the consumer to grow the company’s base of users opting for higher revenue-generating converged telecom services,” one of the persons cited told ET. 
Customers opting for Airtel’s upcoming suite of converged entertainment-cumbroadband services will access premium OTT content, streaming applications, HD television channels, virtual reality apps to interactive gaming services, in addition to high-speed broadband with potential base speeds of 100 Mbps on select plans. Pricing and bundling strategies would be “calibrated in line with competitive intensity,” post-Jio’s home broadband services launch, another person said.
At press time, ET’s queries to Airtel went unanswered. 
Last week, RIL chairman Mukesh Ambani had said telecom arm Reliance Jio would launch home broadband services from September 5, with plans ranging between Rs 700 and Rs 10,000 a month. Experts have said Jio’s promise of a free high-definition TV and a set top box for people opting for its annual broadband plans as part of a ‘Welcome Offer’ could unleash another wave of disruption in the telecom and DTH markets. 
People aware of developments said Airtel could roll out its converged entertainment-cum-broadband tariff packs early next month around the time of the JioFiber launch. 
Earlier this month, Airtel’s chief executive Gopal Vittal said on an earnings call that the company’s immediate game plan is to take steps to make it attractive for customers to upgrade to higher, value-rich tariff plans that would help sustain average revenue per user (ARPU) growth momentum. Airtel’s India mobile services business has lately shown strong revival signals, underlined by growth in ARPU. 
Goldman Sachs sees low possibility of churn for Airtel in the home broadband space, post-Jio’s big-ticket announcements as the Sunil Mittalled telco has been upgrading customers to higher bandwidth offerings. 
Airtel’s home services ARPU grew 1.2% sequentially to Rs 825 in the quarter ended June, although its performance on this metric was weaker in the digital TV services space. Its digital TV services ARPU fell nearly 33% sequentially to Rs 157 in the fiscal first quarter.



More in National
IIT-Delhi creates vegan egg from plants; mock meat coming soon

The new substance, created by IIT-Delhi, is made from lentils and has the same protein-level, taste and cooking procedure as real eggs, Plant-based mutton, chicke...

Recently posted . 9 views

Delhi-NCR transport strike today: All you need to know in 10 points

Commuters are likely to face problems as public transport would be off the roads on Thursday. The strike comes days after Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said ...

Recently posted . 2 views

Super 30 Founder Anand Kumar Felicitated With Prestigious Award In The...

Anand Kumar has been running the highly innovative Super 30 programme for the last 18 years to mentor 30 students free off cost through a year-long residential co...

Recently posted . 5 views

Pakistan: Protest held in Karachi against alleged murder of Namrita Ch...

Protest gaining steam in Pakistan.   People on Tues protest took place in Karachi against the murder of a Sindhi Hindu girl, Na...

Recently posted . 11 views

Documentary On Farmer From Remote Himalayan Village Nominated For Osca...

Indian Documentary Nominated For Oscars 2019: Speaking about the documentary, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat said it will inspire young people to ...

Recently posted . 6 views

Car registrations down in Delhi for first time in 6 years

Data on car registrations indicated that except in 2017, demand in Delhi has been declining gradually over the years. This year, the decline in the number of regist...

Recently posted . 6 views



Thought of the day

"It's fine to celebrate success, but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure."
Bill Gates