Telcos are now shifting focus on home broadband. Airtel is now providing ‘bonus’ data of up to 1000 GB to new users buying is broadband services, after its rivals including ACT, Hathway, YOU Broadband, among others announced similar offers to attract new customers. Airtel had claimed to have 2 million home broadband subscribers in February, just 4 months after it started rolling out fiber-based Internet services in the country.
Under the ‘Big Byte offer, the telco will provide additional data on top of the eligible data usage under a given plan. The bonus data given varies from 500GB to 1000GB depending on the rate of the plan and expires on 31st March 2018. However, free data provided under Big Byte can be utilized only after the customer exhausts his/her FUP. Unused data for a particular month will be carried forward to the next month.
Here is what Airtel is providing in its broadband packs in Bangalore circle:
Airtel broadband is provided over DSL lines and although it has fiber based connectivity, the 100 Mbps plans mentioned above is not available in all area around a city. Where I stay in Bangalore (Koramangala 6th Block); the highest speed in my area is 40 Mbps, according to customer representative that I spoke to.
The telco’s rival ACT updated download speeds and monthly usage limits in Chennai, Delhi and Bangalore circle last week. In some plans, ACT introduced 150 and 200 Mbps speeds for home users while data usage is now being counted separately on the basis of monthly download and upload usage. ACT also expanded into gigabit speeds with their 1 Gbps connection launch for home users. Other ISPs like Ortel, Vodafone owned YOU Broadband, Hathway also added new packs and updated their speeds.
Why telcos and ISPs are investing more in wired space
India’s wired broadband sector is picking up some pace after the Indian govt allocated Rs 10,000 crore from the 2017-18 budget for deploying high-speed fiber connectivity at villages under BharatNet. Following this announcement, Airtel has been expanding its newly launched fiber-based connection across new cities, while Jio is expected to come out with its own set of fiber-to-home service.
As we pointed out before, more telcos are focusing on the wired broadband space as the cellular space is being influenced by Jio’s freebies. More users are coming online, and existing users are consuming more data than bare due to unlimited data packs. For the quarter ended June 2017, Airtel, Idea and Vodafone have reported an upward growth in data usage since Jio’s launch. Free data in the cellular ecosystem seems to have influenced ISP segment also, and telcos are now focusing on growing their ARPU, as opposed to gaining market share.