After the mobile telephony space, it’s the home broadband market — also called fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) — that is is going to witness stiff competition where mobile operators are concerned.
After the mobile telephony space, it’s the home broadband market — also called fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) — that is is going to witness stiff competition where mobile operators are concerned. Reliance Jio Infocomm (Jio) is working on its FTTH services in Mumbai, Pune and Chennai, while Vodafone India is set to enter this segment with acquisition of wired internet provider YOU Broadband. Vodafone globally has fixed broadband operations in 17 markets with 12.5 million customers. Its entry into this space in the Indian market will surely lead to intense competition and a tariff war.
The entry of Jio and Vodafone in the around $2-billion wired broadband space will challenge the current dominance of BSNL and Bharti Airtel, which together control more than 66% of the market.
The signs that established players are preparing for the entry of Jio and Vodafone is apparent, with Airtel offering its customers free additional monthly data top-ups and free subscriptions on Airtel Movies, besides free unlimited local and STD calling and additional data of 5GB free every month with every postpaid or digital TV (DTH) connection.
The domestic home broadband market, which as per various estimates is worth close to $2-billion, has the potential to grow to as much as $6 billion in the next five years on the back of rising internet penetration and a growing appetite for content, especially online streaming programmes.
As per the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai), wired broadband subscribers in the country rose 0.48% to 18.14 million during December 2016 from 18.06 million in November.
It’s interesting to note that in terms of market share of the total broadband (wired and wireless) services in India as of December 2016, Jio has already captured the top spot with 30.56% market share in just six months of launch, followed by Airtel at 18.45%, Vodafone (14.83%), while BSNL has slipped to the fifth spot with 8.63% share.
Analysts say the growing appetite among urban families to watch internet steaming sites, such as Hotstar, Netflix and Amazon Prime, besides online surfing, will further fuel expansion of the wired broadband market, making it a good bet for telecom firms.
Rishi Ranjan Kala