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How Airtel plans to take on Reliance JioFiber

September 03, 2019 12:58 IST

Airtel Xstream will allow its subscribers to access live TV, video, music, news and sports on an over-the-top smart stick, interned-enabled set top box, and handheld devices.

In a bid to take on rival Reliance Jio’s fiber-to-home (FTH) plan JioFiber, Bharti Airtel on Monday launched its digital entertainment platform Airtel Xstream.

Its subscribers will be able to access live TV, video, music, news and sports on an over-the-top (OTT) smart stick, interned-enabled set top box, and handheld devices.

 

This is a strategic move by Airtel to tap into the 18-million broadband-connected homes in the country.

“Nearly 60 per cent of the data consumption in India is entertainment and video. We are targeting that segment,” said Adarsh Nair, chief product officer, Bharti Airtel.

He added, “We are working on more such tie-ups in the near future. We want to tap the Indian mobile market.”

Airtel Xstream Stick with built-in chromecast is priced at Rs 3,999.

Airtel Thanks Platinum and Gold customers will get complimentary access to the content.

Other customers will get free access for the first 30 days, but will need to buy a Rs 999 annual subscription to continue.

The offer can also be availed by the existing Airtel DTH customers through an update, by paying Rs 2,249.

Airtel Xstream will provide access to Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and other Google Playstore applications.

Airtel, the third-largest mobile service provider, plans to roll out a range of solutions over the next few months to cater to the entertainment needs of every customer segment.

Reliance Jio, the largest mobile service provider, had launched a slew of similar offers last month. It will be commercially available from this Thursday.

According to a report by Jeffries, Jio is targeting 20 million homes and 16 million enterprises across 1,600 towns and aims to complete the roll-out in 12 months.

This is ambitious, given the current fixed broadband subscriber base is 18 million.

The roll-out is also likely to face other challenges.

“We expect incentives in terms of content or subsidies to be necessary to achieve the target given the pricing.

"It announced one offering free for annual subscription,” said Piyush Nahar, equity analyst, Jeffries.

Bharti Airtel Home average revenue per user (ARPU) is Rs 825, with an estimated 50 per cent margin.

Analysts expect it to roll out another offer, bundled with most major OTT subscriptions.

Photograph: Ajay Verma/Reuters

Megha Manchanda in New Delhi
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