Reliance Jio, the Mukesh Ambani-led telco is all set to step its foot in the Home Broadband service sector. However, Bharti Airtel is also in the space which points towards an impending price war yet again in the Fibre-to-the-Home (FTTH) Broadband sector. It is very well known, that Reliance Jio after starting its services in the September of 2016 took the prepaid tariff industry by storm. Now, the Mukesh Ambani led telco will be making its entry in the broadband market which can be taken as a sign of danger for the other broadband companies since the telecom industry is well aware of Jio’s competitive pricing methods. It’s being expected that Reliance Jio will be offering an attractive combo of fast broadband connectivity at initial data speeds of 100 Mbps (along with free data), videos and unlimited voice calls through the VoIP (voice over internet protocol) way at price of around Rs 1000-1500 a month.
However, like Reliance Jio did for its prepaid data and voice plan, people are expected that the carrier would offer the services for free in the beginning.
A person aware of the matter said to ET Telecom that the Reliance Industry’s Annual General Meeting, which is supposed to be held on July 5, can bring the announcement of a release date for Reliance Jio’s broadband services. It is noteworthy that Reliance Jio, after completing testing is already on the task of conducting pilot in some cities. The rival telco, Bharti Airtel is also keen on solidifying its position in the broadband sector before Reliance Jio steps in. A senior Bharti Airtel official told ET “We are closely watching the wired home broadband space and will combine innovation with aggressive investments and do whatever it takes to stay competitive on services and tariffs and grow our home customer base.”
The leading telco of the country is going to invest heavily on its broadband operations in order to prepare itself to rival Jio in the home service space. The telco will likely allocate a sum of Rs 24,000-crore capex guidance for FY19 to pursue its expansion plans in the wired broadband network.
The telco will want to raise the number to 100 prime cities of the country, up from the number of 89 for its FTTH service. Also, it will lay focus on high data consumption centres. As per the current plans of Airtel, it will seek to add another 10 million-plus homes by FY21 to its list of broadband services. To achieve this goal, it will have to add at least 3-to-5 million new home service customers in the coming three years.
Not only expansion, but the leading telco will also want to hold on to its existing broadband customer base of 2.5 million. To pave the path for this, the telco is planning many attractive offers. A recent offer includes a discount of 15% and 20% to customers opting for its home broadband packs (offering up to 300 Mbps speeds) for six months and one year, respectively.
Airtel also has alternative plans to counter Reliance Jio, one of them would be to be a rake in full-fledged home customers, who will benefit from discounts to buy converged telecom products across Airtel’s full services portfolio under its ‘Home Platform’. The service is expected to go live, nationwide soon. This new brainchild of Airtel, specially developed for home customers will, typically, be able to bundle Airtel postpaid mobile and digital TV connections with their high-speed home broadband packs. The service would also fuse all the bills into one, over which a common solid discount will be offered. ??Also, to make their home service plans stand out, Airtel is not going to stop here. It will also add a bunch of additional services to its plans like home security services and antivirus.
On posing with questions from ET, Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel both did not reply to the queries on press time.
Arpit spends his day closely following the telecom and tech industry. A music connoisseur and a night owl, he also takes a deep interest in the Indian technology start-up scene and spends rest of his time spilling poetry and stories on paper.