Jio's FTTH to expand broadband market, will help Airtel: Fitch

New Delhi (IANS) The pricing scale and style of Reliance Jio's fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) services, GigaFiber, will expand the market and increase the scope for all operators to grow, including Airtel, since the home broadband penetration in India is well below 10 per cent, according to analysts.

"We believe that Jio's FTTH Rs 700 price point is comparable to Bharti's broadband average revenue per user (ARPU) of Rs 825. Jio's launch is going to expand the home broadband market which will be beneficial for Bharti as well. Home broadband penetration is well below 10 per cent in India where addressable homes are around 240-250 million", Fitch Ratings Director Nitin Soni told IANS. 

Soni did not speifically say Jio would prevail over other players and stand-alone operators in the FTTH segment.

In its 42nd annual general meeting on Monday, Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) announced the launch of its much-awaited Jio GigaFiber services. The Jio GigaFiber base plans will start at 100 Mbps, and can go up to 1 Gbps, with prices ranging from Rs 700 to Rs 10,000 depending on usage. 

Customers opting for the Jio Forever plan in Jio GigaFiber will also get an HD 4K LED TV and a 4K set-top box free. 

Additionally, GigaFiber subscribers will be able to make voice calls from home to any Indian telecom network for free. The international calling tariffs will also be lower. 

Jio GigaFiber will also include subscriptions to several top premium OTT applications. JioFiber's commercial rollout will begin on September 5, 2019. 

On a comparative basis, the biggest competitor of Jio GigaFiber in the Indian market is Bharti Airtel with its Airtel V-Fiber broadband service that too offers lightning-fast speeds of up to 100 Mbps. In Delhi, 

Airtel's monthly plans start from Rs 799 with internet speeds of up to 40 Mbps and 100GB broadband data. The 100 Mbps plan is priced at Rs 1,099 per month with 300GB broadband data. The company also has Rs 1,599 and Rs 1,999 plan with speeds up to 300 Mbps and 100 Mbps respectively. The Rs 1,999 plan does not come with a data limit.

State-owned BSNL also offers a wide range of plan on its Broadband Internet Service on Bharat Fiber (FTTH). BSNL's Bharat Fiber plans start from Rs 777 to Rs 16,999 per month. The cheapest Rs 777 plan brings up to 50 Mbps speeds till 500 GB and the speed is throttled to 2 Mbps beyond the data limit. 

The 100 Mbps plan starts from Rs 1,277 and comes with a data limit of 750GB. The costliest Rs 16,999 plan offers up to 100 Mbps broadband speed till 170GB per day and up to 10 Mbps speed post the exhaustion of the data limit. There is also a 40GB plan priced at Rs 2,499, 50GB plan at Rs 3999, 80GB at Rs 5,999, 120GB at Rs 9,999, and 170GB at Rs 16,999. 

South India-based ACT Fibernet is an old player in this spece and is India's largest fibre-focused wired broadband ISP in terms of the number of fiber broadband internet subscribers. The company enjoys the highest market share in Hyderabad in the wired broadband market and relies on the same fiber network infrastructure as RIL's upcoming Jio GigaFiber service. 

In Delhi, ACT offers two plans -- ACT Silver Promo and ACT Platinum Promo. The Silver Promo plan offers 100 Mbps internet speed with 500GB data at Rs 749. The Platinum Promo offers speeds of 150 Mbps with 1,000GB data priced at Rs 999.

Then there is Hathway, which has revamped its unlimited plans and offers faster speeds and more data to take on Reliance Jio's GigaFiber. In Delhi, the company has a SuperThunder 150 Mbps plan with a fair usage policy (FUP) limit of 200GB. The 100 Mbps plan of the Hathway is called Superstorm 100 and comes with a 130GB monthly FUP limit.

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