Airtel 4G

Bharti Airtel has announced the launch of its fiber Internet services which claims to offer speeds up to 100 mbps starting with Chennai city today. The service is scheduled to be launched in 87 more cities in the coming weeks. The company is yet to reveal tariff plans; we will update the story once more details are out.

Existing Airtel broadband customers can upgrade to the new fiber-based Internet under their current plan at no extra costs. “If they are not happy with the service within one month, Airtel will refund the modem charges and the amount will be adjusted in the next bill cycle,” the company said in a statement. New customers can avail the service along with unlimited usage for the first three months as promotional offer. Both existing and new customers can book their connections here.

Unlimited calling and rewards program

Airtel will also offer unlimited free voice calling for all broadband customers via landline across all broadband plans. Subscribers will also get free additional data of 5 GB per month for every existing Airtel service that the subscriber holds within the home/family. For e.g. if an Airtel broadband subscriber has two Airtel postpaid connections and one Airtel digital TV connection, the company claims to offer 15 GB of free data added to the broadband account every month.

Project Leap and broadband expansion

Airtel claims that its fiber Internet service will be aided by Project Leap—its Rs 60,000 crore investment project aimed at network up gradation and modernization for installing submarine and national/international fiber lines, deploying base stations, expanding mobile broadband networks and reducing its carbon footprint. More here.  The company also claims to perform caching of content at its data centres to improve data download experience for customers.

Competition

Some notable fiber Internet service providers in the county include ACT Fibernet, which is live across 11 cities; Spectranet which offers unlimited Internet without FUP at 8 cities; and Vodafone-owned YOU broadband, which is live in 15 cities. Apart from this media reports have suggested that the Mukesh Ambani owned telco Reliance Jio is also planning to roll out fiber Internet services across the country, although the company has not made any official announcement yet.

TRAI’s recent telecom subscription numbers shows that number of wired broadband subscribers stood at 17.49 million connections. The data also shows that BSNL has a majority (57%) of the 17.49 million wired broadband connections, closely followed by Airtel (15.26%) and MTNL (14.12%). Interestingly, state run entities including BSNL and MTNL combined owns 71.18% of the wired broadband connection in India.

However, data also shows that government owned broadband services were adding fewer customers when compared to private players: BSNL and MTNL lost 160,794 wired connections between May to July 2016. On the other had Airtel added 24,874 connections, and Tata added 3468 connections wired connection between the same time frame.