Cable TV

GTPL Hathway earmarks Rs 400 crore capex for FY22

The MSO invested Rs 335 crore towards capex in FY21.

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KOLKATA: Pan India multi-system operator (MSO) GTPL Hathway is increasing its capex projection for FY22 to Rs 400 crore, compared to Rs 335 crore it invested in FY21, a top executive revealed in an investors call.

Out of the overall capex projected for this financial year, Rs 225 crore to Rs 230 crore will be invested in the broadband segment, while the rest is going to be deployed for the cable TV side, especially for expansion in new markets. All capex will be funded through internal accruals only. The company is not looking forward to any fund raising activity at this point of time, GTPL Hathway cable TV head and chief strategy officer Piyush Pankaj noted.

Earlier, the MSO revealed its plans to grow its cable TV subscriber base by more than 50 per cent in the next three years. While the growth in FY21 was flat, the company has cited the  decline in commercial connections as reason for the sluggish addition. 

“The hotels, corporates, housekeeping, offices, small offices and all, which have not come back totally because of the pandemic. We are looking forward that in the normal scenario this business will grow. The residential customers are growing. We have connected around half a million more residential houses in the pandemic. We are looking forward that we will continue to grow,” Pankaj commented.

GTPL Hathway is excited about six new states it entered for potential organic growth. Moreover, there is a lot of opportunity for consolidation, Pankaj added. It is already on the verge of executing some deals. While pandemic came in the way to executing deals in FY21, it is looking at closing the consolidation deals as the situation improves going forward.

Overall, the cable TV market has been growing from anything between four to seven per cent CAGR, mentioned GTPL Hathway chairman and non-executive director Rajan Gupta. It varies from state to state, where states like Odisha have grown higher.

It is also optimistic about maintaining its broadband additions as well, which is around 60,000 quarterly. “If you see 31 March 2020, we were showing the ISP internet service at around Rs 5 crore, which has increased to Rs 43 crore in 2021, quarter-to-quarter it is down, but year-to-year it is ten times more,” GTPL Hathway promoter and MD Anirudhsinh Jadeja highlighted.

Rather than increasing broadband ARPU, the current focus is to create the broadband market where it enjoys a high market share in cable like Gujarat. As upgradation happens from LAN to FTTH, there will be some ARPU increase, said  Gupta. The shift in ARPU with change in connection happened last year, and he expects the momentum to continue.

GTPL Hathway planned to launch hybrid boxes in Q4FY21, but production has been delayed due to the pandemic. The boxes are ready and they are getting shipped, Pankaj stated.

While Jio is adding broadband subscribers aggressively, Jadeja claims it is not a competitor yet. “It is good now that Jio is also our partner and we might say that we are getting the cost synergy benefits related to the content, infrastructure, or whatever Jio’s expertise is for the overall industry,"  remarked Jadeja.

"Jio’s market is spread in Ahmedabad, Baroda, Surat, and some other cities in Gujarat. GTPL covers almost the majority of Gujarat with a presence in 100 towns. The major competitor is BSNL and there are no other players,” he added.

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