Chennai Setting Tone for India’s Broadband Landscape

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The city of Chennai has been leading the broadband landscape in India as the data consumption in the city is close to the average of developed countries. Hathway, a pan India broadband provider, said in its investor presentation for the third quarter of previous financial year that the average data consumption per consumer in Chennai is 190GB per month. The company said that the average data consumption per user in the developed countries has been 200GB per month while the average data consumption in rest of India is 155GB. With the city offering more broadband options for an average consumer, several national telecom players including Hathway offer dedicated plans for the consumers in the city as compared to its national offerings. We at TelecomTalk explore the competition in Chennai and how it is driving consumer growth.

More Players Providing More Choices for Consumers

According to data from the Telecom Regulatory of India (Trai) released in January, Tamil Nadu including Chennai is among the top five service areas of the country in terms of broadband subscriptions.

Maharashtra with 52.47 million broadband consumers leads the chart, Tamil Nadu including Chennai with 44.38 million consumers is currently the fourth most serviced area in the country in terms of broadband subscribers.

While TelecomTalk couldn’t verify the number of broadband subscribers in each city, it is believed that Chennai is among the top cities in India with respect to the number of broadband subscribers.

The city has at least 10 broadband service providers including the national players like Hathway, BSNL, Airtel, Jio, You Broadband, Tata Sky and Act Broadband. Among the state level players who offer the services in the city include Cherrinet, Ficus Telecom and TIC Fiber. Additionally, RailWire and Spectra offer services in selected areas of Chennai.

Several players including Hathway offer either dedicated plans or provide consumers with custom offers that are limited to the city. Hathway said that Chennai is a “pure FTTH market” as it provides users with plans that are limited to the city. The top tier plan of Hathway for the Chennai city is a 300 Mbps plan that offers users 2TB of data per month. In several major cities across India, the top tiered plan from Hathway is limited to 150 Mbps speed. Similarly, state level player Cherrinet offers its G-Force plans only to users in Chennai that promises 1Gbps speeds.

Data Consumption in Chennai in Continuous Uptrend

While the average consumption per user per month across India has been on the rise, the data consumption in Chennai has been closer to developed countries in the past three quarters.

In the first quarter of the previous financial year ending June 2019, Hathway noted that the average monthly data consumption is 134GB per user while Chennai recorded 167GB. Similarly, the national average on monthly data consumption was 146 GB per user in the second quarter and 155GB per user for the third quarter.

In Chennai, the average data consumption per user was 179GB per month for the second quarter while the number spiked to 190GB per month in the third quarter. Hathway noted that the average data consumption per user is 200GB per month in the developed countries.

With several companies asking its employees to work from home from the second week of March and with India enforcing a national lockdown from March 24, telecom operators have already reported a spike in data usage.

It remains to be seen whether Chennai would eclipse the average data consumption per user landmark of the developed countries in the current quarter and become the new benchmark for India.

Reported By


Born in India, Yogesh loves to travel and has lived in multiple countries including New Zealand and Canada. His bylines can be found on various newspapers and blogs throughout the world, including Vancouver Sun, Surrey Now-Leader, Daily Hive , Investing News Network and Rach F1.

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