iWorld

Airtel steps up home pass expansion in wired broadband biz

The company is open to look at partnerships to expand home presence

https://indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/smartcrop_800x800/public/images/tv-images/2018/11/09/broadband.jpg?itok=BBFjGEzT

MUMBAI: Airtel is taking the bull by its horns. Not wanting to lose out to the latest broadband entrant – Reliance Jio – it has stepped up fibre-to-home passes expansion. While announcing Q1 FY19 results, Airtel did mention that there would be significant step-up of home broadband investment, it has now rolled out almost one million (10 lakh) home passes in the first half of this FY.

Bharti Airtel MD and CEO India Gopal Vittal said in an earnings call that it is now beginning to see some growth in net additions. “This quarter has been a little bit better than the prior quarter though we saw some ARPU dilution because of the pricing arbitrage that there is and the adjustment as a consequence that we have had to do on the broadband front,” he also added. The ardent urge to have a significant foothold in this market is clear as in the last couple of years it has been rolling out about five to six lakh home passes.

Recently, Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Jio acquired significant stakes in two large cable operators Hathway and Den Networks. The addressable market for the operator has increased highly leading to a more critical situation for other players. However, Airtel will continue to rollout home-passes aggressively in the second half of the FY to face the tough challenge thrown by its rival. While Airtel has been stepping up its investment in the segment already, it will do the same in the following year too. Notably, Vittal also mentioned the company would be open to look at partnerships to expand home presence through other entities that may have access to the last mile.

Vittal also added as it is adding a large number of home passes, the company should be stepping up acquisitions also which has already started in Q2. However, he also mentioned the gestation for translating a home pass into a utilised home pass is typically anywhere between three to four years. “It depends on when you got in there, the rate at which the occupancy is moving in a high-rise, which is really where our strategy is focused, on high-rise more than flatbed. So it depends on the occupancy, it depends on when the building gets ready and so on. So on a blended basis, if you look at the utilisations, they should come back to the levels that you normally have on the base over a three-year period,” he explained.

In its core business, Airtel has made about 7.5 million 4G net additions this quarter, a little lower than the first quarter. The company is adding most of its customers from the top 1000 towns. Though its performance has been poor in rural areas, Vittal is optimistic that it will begin to shift with the network rollout. “If you look at our 4G footprint, that is getting to about 150,000 sites. We added about 25,000 sites in this quarter and as we roll networks out we find that our share of 4G net adds in those particular geographies takes a bump up. There is a direct correlation between the rollouts of our network and the performance in 4G, which is why for example, in markets like Karnataka where we have rolled out much in advance we are getting more than our fair share of 4G net adds,” he said. The company stands at around 21 per cent odd on the EBITDA margins for mobile businesses.

Every new home the company is passing in the home broadband segment is fibre and the company’s existing digital subscriber line asset has also been upgraded through the vector fiber which was introduced a year ago. India’s fixed line broadband penetration was expected to increase to 10.3 per cent from the present single-digit share by year 2022 as per Singapore-based Media Partners Asia figure. Hence, although Jio could disrupt the market like it did in telecom segment, there are plenty of opportunities for other players too.

Latest Reads

https://indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2019/02/21/MX-Player.jpg?itok=krXhQHxc
MX Player set to launch 5 new original series

MX Player, the local video player and entertainment platform with 70 million daily active users, has announced the launch of its first five MX Original Series that will go live starting 20 February. Streaming premium content for free, this ad-supported video on demand platform hosts a large...

iWorld Over The Top Services
https://indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2019/02/20/amazon.jpg?itok=9feRZpOO
Prime Video reveals the first character posters for Prime Original Series – Made in Heaven

Amazon Prime Video has the largest selection of latest & exclusive movies and TV shows, stand-up comedy, biggest Indian and Hollywood films, US TV series, most popular Indian & international kids’ shows, and award-winning Amazon Prime Originals, all available, ad-free, with a world class...

iWorld Over The Top Services
https://indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2019/02/20/netflx.jpg?itok=KUVXVO-X
Netflix releases official trailer for cricket fever: Mumbai Indians

Cricket Fever: Mumbai Indians follows the Indian Premier League’s superstar team Mumbai Indians on the road through the course of the 2018 IPL season, as they sought to defend their 2017 IPL crown.

iWorld Over The Top Services
https://indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2019/02/19/sonyluv.jpg?itok=1AsbRZba
SonyLiv brings a bunch of all new international shows across genres

To live up to the promise of bringing the best of international shows, SonyLiv, India’s first premium video on demand (VOD) service, has brought an all new line-up of shows.

iWorld Over The Top Services
https://indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2019/02/19/Manish_Aggarwal-800.jpg?itok=90ndAOVP
ZEE5 targets 20x-30x increase in subscription numbers in next one year

To mark its first anniversary, ZEEL’s OTT platform ZEE5 recently announced plans to produce 72 new Originals on the platform by March 2020. Despite being part of a media and entertainment conglomerate, the super streamer continues to garner all the spotlight largely thanks to the effective progress...

iWorld Over The Top Services
https://indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2019/02/18/hotstar.jpg?itok=Tbkn0-13
Monday gets happier with 'Pyaar ke Papad'

Have you spent a Monday binge watching a rom com with a twist? For the first time on Indian television, Star Bharat is taking the initiative to launch the first five episodes of its one-of-a-kind rom-com show ‘Pyaar Ke Papad’ on Hotstar.

iWorld Over The Top Services
https://indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2019/02/18/amazon.jpg?itok=1u-tqDAv
Amazon Prime Video Greenlights a new prime rriginal series - Bandish Bandits

Amazon Prime Video today greenlit an all new Prime Original Series, Bandish Bandits, a romantic musical created by Still and Still Media Collective.

iWorld Over The Top Services
https://indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2019/02/18/tvf.jpg?itok=NRMThEgH
TVF launches MX original series 'ImMature'

The Viral Fever (TVF), known for creating path-breaking digital content, will now extend its footprint to provide content across different platforms, kick-starting with An MX Original Series - ImMature.

iWorld Over The Top Services
https://indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2019/02/15/voot.jpg?itok=bDhBAchU
Voot unveils five new short films

Deviant desires, wicked love, and tangled truths, VOOT Originals ‘SHORTCUTS’ Produced by Tipping Point, a Viacom18 Studios Production, has unveiled the next set of five short films.

iWorld Over The Top Services

Latest News

Load More

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories