Excitel Broadband hasn’t been witnessing “any major sustained surge in demand” even as multiple regions across India are currently under lockdown, says Vivek Raina, chief executive officer of Excitel Broadband. Raina told TelecomTalk that since the initial lockdown in March 2020, the company never witnessed a “slump in consumption.” The CEO of Excitel said that the work from home has turned into a “regular style of working for the majority of the people whose jobs can be done in such a way.” Further, Raina also said that the schools across India continued the online classes and that the people developed a “habit of entertaining themselves by playing online games or watching” content from the Over-the-Top platforms.
Excitel Prepared to Handle Surge in Data Usage
With India currently under the second wave of COVID-19, multiple regions across the country have imposed either a total lockdown or have placed several restrictions to control the rising COVID-19 cases. In areas where the regional governments have imposed a total lockdown, offices and educational institutions have been closed with the governments encouraging work from home and online classes.
“So ever since the peak consumption due to last year’s lockdown we never really saw a slump in consumption and there wasn’t any major impact this time around,” Raina told TelecomTalk in an email interview.
In April, ICICI Securities, a subsidiary of ICICI Bank, said that the increase in the adoption of fixed broadband services is “likely” to continue in the current financial year as well.
“Fixed broadband (FBB) is playing a critical role in enabling the work-from-home culture and online classes,” ICICI Securities said in a report.
The firm said that the wired broadband space has witnessed a “strong adoption” in the past year with the operators in the segment witnessing a 19% increase in the user base.
“Earlier, data was used predominantly for communications (Whatsapp, Facebook), and entertainment (Youtube, gaming). However, in the wake of COVID, data utility has increased multifold – from virtual meetings, classrooms and various consultations, to online shopping, digital payments,” ICICI Securities said in its report.
The CEO of Excitel said that the company is “prepared” to handle any surge in data usage in the days ahead.
“When last year we saw a sudden spike in the consumption, we set up practices and mechanisms in place to ensure that we have the technological expertise to handle such a dramatic surge,” Raina said.
Crucially, Raina said that the company is “not just focusing on handling” the spike in data usage but also “trying to solve customer grievances and tech issues” during the current lockdown conditions.
Excitel Could Extend OTT Subscriptions to 100 Mbps, 200 Mbps Users
In late February, Excitel started bundling Zee5, Voot Select, Eros Now and ShemarooMe subscriptions with its 300 Mbps plans. Raina told TelecomTalk that the company “received an overwhelming response” from its users for its OTT subscription bundle.
“At the moment we have restricted the plan to 300 Mbps but we’re further trying to analyse the data before extending it to 100 Mbps and 200 Mbps,” Raina said.
ICICI Securities said that the telecom operators have become “critical in pushing digital entertainment ecosystem.”
“Rise in fixed broadband is further helped by operators pushing bundled services with many apps built into pricing,” ICICI Securities said in its report.
In comparison, Bharti Airtel, the second largest wired broadband provider in India offers at least one OTT subscription across its entire range of Xstream Fiber plans. Similarly, JioFiber, the Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) arm of Reliance Jio, offers OTT subscriptions on its plans priced Rs 999 and above. However, Raina highlights that Excitel offers the “most affordable” FTTH plans across India.
While Excitel is currently available across 29 cities in India, the company had earlier said that it is targeting to launch its services in 50 cities across the country.
“Even though our focus at these unprecedented times is to ensure that our customers keep on getting uninterrupted services and tech issues if any are resolved proactively, we still are gunning to cover the 50 cities that we set out to cover at the start of the year,” Raina said.