With Reliance Jio planning to double down on fibre broadband sector this year, the largest telco in the country, Bharti Airtel is also not backing down from the arena. Bharti Airtel has announced that it is going to accelerate its broadband operations in the country and is aiming for a high growth rate in wired connections this year. To achieve these desired results, Airtel is going to heavily invest in the wired segment. A person aware of the matter said “We have stepped up investments on home broadband. We do 400,000-500,000 home passes a year. Last year we did almost 2 million home passes.” To further this growth, Airtel is now looking towards an audacious goal of making 2-4 million Home passes in the year 2018-19.
When fibre is distributed to home via an optical fibre frame with a single fibre being dedicated to each customer’s home it is known as a home pass. Airtel plans on increasing the home passes by double rate this year by focusing specially on its prime markets like Delhi, Bengaluru, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai.
According to a report by Livemint, with Reliance Jio already stepping in the game, the competitors are expecting a drop in ARPU (Average Revenue Per User). Airtel has really sensed the impending tussle which lies ahead of the telcos, as Reliance Jio has already started testing out its services in Mumbai and New Delhi. The Mukesh Ambani led telco is apparently charging Rs 4,500 as security for the home connection in these two cities.
The above-mentioned person further added “Airtel has under-invested in home broadband so far…the investment behind this segment will be in the ballpark range of few hundred crores out of the overall capital expenditure of $4 billion by Airtel in 2018-19.”
According to current statistics, Airtel provides 100 Mbps connection to 2.1 million users in India spread over 89 cities. In the ‘Home services’ segment, as of last quarter, Airtel noted that their ARPU was Rs 929 which translates to a 12.6% year-on-year decline. Also, 94 percent of its ‘Home Services’ customers are made up by Airtel broadband users.
To double down on its broadband strategy last month Airtel introduced a new plan priced at Rs 2,990 which will give the users a speed of 300 Mbps with 1200GB of data. Airtel will also provide free access to its OTT apps like Wynk Music and Airtel TV for the users who opt for this plan.