Why Airtel will shine despite competition from JioFiber plans

JioFiber, Reliance Jio’s fiber to the home (FTTH) broadband service in 1,600 cities, will not impact Airtel India, various industry reports suggest.
Airtel Xstream management teamAirtel launched its revamped digital entertainment platform Airtel Xstream that will support traditional television as well as OTT.

The inbuilt Chromecast will be a a customer retention tool for existing broadband and DTH customers as well as a value-added service for the post-paid and high-end prepaid customers in India.

The Xstream box will come with Airtel Xstream app, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and YouTube. It also offers over 500 TV channels. Recently, Tata Sky too introduced a similar service Tata Sky Binge which is offered through Amazon Fire TV stick.

Airtel has 2.3 million fixed broadband subscribers. The Xstream set-top box will offer these customers linear TV as well as OTT content. Airtel’s broadband ARPU at INR 825 is not significantly higher than Jio’s plans that start at Rs 699 per month. Jio offers up to 100 Mbps speed.

Airtel has increased speeds for its customers and lowered prices. Airtel’s current offering is competitive on pricing and product fronts and to a large extent tackles competition from JioFiber, Kunal Vora at BNP Paribas Securities India, said.
Broadband market share Jio vs Airtel

Airtel had 16 million DTH subscribers as of Q1 fiscal 2020. DTH customers, those wanting to watch OTT content, can upgrade to Airtel Xstream by paying Rs 2,249, while the charge for others is Rs 3,999. These customers can avail the broadband service of any ISP and use Airtel Xstream to watch linear and OTT content.

Airtel Thanks Gold and Platinum customers will receive complementary access to Airtel Xstream’s content on purchase of Xstream hardware. Mobile prepaid customers paying upwards of Rs 199 per month as well as post-paid and broadband customers are considered Airtel Thanks Gold/ Platinum customers.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch in its report said: “We do not rule out some pressure on Airtel’s broadband revenues. The impact is expected to be limited as overall fixed broadband penetration remains low at 8 percent.”

Kotak Institutional Equities said Jio’s foray into fibre-based broadband services will impact BSNL’s wireline business. BSNL is the market leader in fixed broadband space for the past several years.