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Idea Cellular to offer live TV, music services

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MUMBAI: It’s the charge of the telco brigade. First Airtel and Reliance Jio hared into the content space by announcing their Wynk, Wynk Video and Wynk Games and JioGames, JioCinema, JioTV, JioPlay, JioOnDemand services offering an array of video, music, game chat apps. Now it’s the turn of another telco major - the Aditya Birla group owned Idea Cellular - to do the same. In an investor presentation, the company says it is planning its own range of mobile digital services right from live television to videos to music to games to music to news/magazines to chat and even money transfers.

First off the blocks will be Idea Game Spark (Q3 FY 2017), Idea Videos and Idea Music before the last quarter of FY 2017 (January-March 2017). Idea TV, Idea News/magazines, Idea storage and Idea chat will follow in FY 2018 (April 2017 onwards).

In the presentation, Idea says it expects mobile data usage to sky rocket just like voice over mobile did in the growth phase of wireless telephony. About 1.1 billion Indians will get access to wireless broadband by 2019-2020 (250-300 million in March 2015), and the subscriber base of 3G/4G services is expected to rapidly swell from 130 million in March 2016 to 540 million by 2021. Idea expects data consumption per user to more than treble from the current 475 MB per month in the same period.

In March 2016, it had 22.8 million wireless broadband subs each of whom consumed 642 MB of data per month. Idea explains that its broadband services today are available to 400 million Indians; it is targeting to expand that 500 million by March 2017. It’s on course to have nearly 100,000 data sites active in 17 circles by the end of FY-2017.

With the launch of its digital content and other apps, mobile subscribers are likely to be spoiled for choice and competition is expected to hot up between Jio, Airtel, Vodafone and Idea. For television channels and content creators, however, it’s going to open up new worlds of opportunity.

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