Television

Bharti floats subsidiary company for DTH

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MUMBAI: Bharti Airtel Limited has floated a wholly owned subsidiary, Bharti Telemedia, for its direct-to-home (DTH) services.



The plan is to launch DTH this calendar year, but this will depend on whether the telecom major manages to get transponder space from the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro).



Indiantelevision.com was the first to report that Bharti would be entering into the DTH business, joining Anil Ambani's Reliance, Kalanithi Maran's Sun Direct and the existing players Dish TV, Tata Sky and DD Direct Plus.



Bharti also hopes to launch its IPTV services in the first quarter of the next fiscal, a source in the company says. UTStarcom is the digital service vendor for Bharti's IPTV including the headend and the digital set-top boxes (STBs).

 

"There are issues we still have to sort out on technology, cost and reach. IPTV could have limitations in India at this stage. DTH can give us a wider market," says the source.



Bharti had started test runs for IPTV with UTStarcom but later invited other vendors as well. Subsequently, it has been using UTStarcom for its IPTV build up.

 

The telecom major has also announced the acquisition of a submarine network cable system from Network i2i, which is jointly owned by Singtel and a Bharti group company, for an overall consideration of $110 million. This will be subject to obtaining the requisite approvals.



Bharti Airtel is structured into three strategic business units ? mobile, broadband & telephone (B&T) and Enterprise services. The mobile business provides mobile and fixed wireless services using GSM technology across 23 telecom circles. The B&T unit provides broadband and telephone services in 94 cities while the Enterprise services provide end-to-end telecom solutions to corporate customers and national and international long distance services to carriers.



Bharti has an aggregate of 33.71 million subscribers (as of December-end 2006), consisting of 31.97 million mobile customers.

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