The wired broadband market offers significant growth potential, and Hathway is actively engaging to improve subscriber traction in it. Offering Android set-top boxes is an interesting proposition to attract customers and potentially bundle and cross-sell services.
“Hathway Ultra Smart HUB” combines linear TV with on-demand and streaming services at an introductory price of Rs 2,999 to buy the box. Users can view 400+ TV channels, stream OTT services, download apps from Google Play, and mirror content from phone to TV with the built-in Chromecast.
The remote carries dedicated YouTube, Netflix, and Google Play buttons. Thus, consumers can access those platforms directly as well as via Google voice assistant. The boxes are under production and users can book them from November onwards. Hathway can supply ~100K boxes per month by the end of November, with potential to double the supply. The boxes work on any Internet connection, fiber or Wi-Fi, with speeds of >8Mbps. Hathway has been upgrading its broadband network pan-India to provide high-speed data, working on initiatives like chatbot for customer support automation and offering data bundles at better speeds and attractive price points. Hathway plans to launch 300 Mbps, 2TB monthly data plans in Chennai from October 10 and pan-India from December 2018.
We believe set-top boxes form an interesting proposition to attract and retain customers as well as cross-sell services.
Hathway could bundle them with broadband services to lock in customers on high-end, longer validity data plans – thus reducing churn, in our view. The company had announced earlier that all its existing and new broadband consumers who subscribe to Netflix and pay for its subscription through their Hathway bill will receive this box for free.
Though near-term ARPU pressures could keep performance subdued, potential acquisition/commercial tie-up is the key upside catalyst for the stock. Barriers to entry are higher owing to challenges in deploying last-mile connectivity.