Airtel Xstream platform from Bharti Airtel will counter Reliance JioFiber, believes brokerage firm BNP Paribas. A couple of days ago, Bharti Airtel unveiled its Airtel Xstream digital platform which also has a couple of hardware products- Airtel Xstream Box and Airtel Xstream Stick. The Airtel Xstream Box replaces the Airtel Internet TV box and it takes on Jio' smart Set-Top Box that's expected to bring Satellite TV and OTT content together. The Airtel Xstream Box comes pre-installed with Airtel Xstream app which offers more than 350 Live TV channels and 10,000 plus movies & shows. According to BNP Paribas, the Airtel Xstream Box from Bharti Airtel is a customer retention tool (both broadband and DTH). Reliance Jio is expected to announce JioFiber broadband plans later today along with all the bundled Set-Top Box plan details as well.
Airtel Xstream Tackles Competition from JioFiber
The Airtel Xstream Box can be purchased for Rs 3,999, while on the other hand, Reliance Jio is expected to provide free Set-Top Box to all the JioFiber customers who will choose a Triple Play plan. Existing Airtel Digital TV SD and HD Set-Top Box users can upgrade to Airtel Xstream Box by paying Rs 2,249 to the company. The main advantage of the Airtel Xstream Box is the combination of Satellite TV and OTT content, and more importantly, it runs on Android TV platform. In Jio's case, we're not sure whether its Set-Top Box will run Android TV platform or not. For the unaware, Android TV is the powerful television platform available in the market right now. We will have to wait for more details on the Jio Set-Top Box.
“We believe Airtel’s current converged digital entertainment platform, Xstream is competitive on the pricing and product fronts and to a large extent tackles competition from JioFiber,” BNP Paribas said in a press note released today.
That being said, Airtel did not reveal any plans of providing Triple Play services to the customers, but once JioFiber reveals the plans, we're expecting Airtel to consider that option as well. If Airtel bundles Airtel Xstream Box with a broadband connection, then JioFiber will face stiff competition.
Airtel Aims to Retain Broadband and DTH Customers With Airtel Xstream
At the end of Q1 FY20, Airtel's broadband customer base was 2.3 million and the Average Revenue per User stood at Rs 825. That said, JioFiber confirmed that its plans would start at Rs 700 and go all the way up to Rs 10,000. Including taxes, even the prices of the base plan will come over Rs 800, so Airtel's broadband plans are still competitive, believes BNP Paribas. However, as mentioned above, Jio will provide Cable TV, Broadband and Landline services to the customers with just one connection, which Airtel is lacking right now.
Airtel Digital TV subscriber base stood at 16 million at the end of Q1 FY20. With the help of Airtel Xstream platform, the company is aiming to retain both broadband and DTH customers and not lose the battle to Reliance Jio similar to the telecom sector.