Manthan’s Rs 120 crore SMS deal with IBM

KOLKATA: As part of its ambitious plan to install nearly 3,000,000 set top boxes in the eastern region by end-2014, Kolkata-headquartered cable TV multi-system operator (MSO) Manthan Broadband Services has inked a long-term contract with IBM India for the maintenance of its subscriber management system (SMS).

Sources close to the deal peg its value at approximately Rs 120 crore where IBM has been developing the software for Manthan’s SMS for the past one and a half years. has learnt that apart from IBM, firms like Magna Quest and Ericsson were also part of the race to win the coveted 10-year contract with Manthan.

When contacted, Manthan director Sudip Ghosh confirmed the news and said: “The system will enable subscribers to exercise their choice of services and budget their bills accordingly. It will also help us manage their accounting and billing of services rendered more effectively in the long term.”

The investment would ensure the best infrastructure including network, encryption, ERP, SMS and call centre, Ghosh said.

An IBM official too concurred: “We are offering a lot of solutions to the company. Yes, we have signed the deal.”

deally, the Digital Addressable Cable TV System (DAS) requires all MSOs to establish a SMS where details of subscribers, including their choice of services like channels and bouquets are maintained. In reality however, many MSOs were not implementing this feature effectively. Also, local cable operators (LCOs) were not providing completed subscriber application forms to their linked MSOs. Reason why the Telecom and Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) directed all registered MSOs and their associated LCOs to ensure SMS was made fully operational. “This would bring in addressability and consequently, complete transparency in the whole system,” opined several cable and entertainment analysts.

Manthan, created back in 2002 through a merger of the operations of nine cable TV operators, today caters to 30 lakh households in the east. The MSO has penetration in areas like Kolkata, Howrah, Hooghly, Baraipur and Chandannagar among others.

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