Gopal Vittal on Airtel's DTH strategy, TRAI tariff order & overall ARPU growth

Airtel is also building a solid digital layer using data, payments, network and distribution.


MUMBAI: The uncertainty caused in the cable industry after the TRAI tariff order implementation has helped DTH players gain subscribers. Airtel Digital TV added approximately 391,000 customers in the last quarter of FY2019 reaching a total base of 15.4 million as at the end of March 2019. The Sunil Bharti Mittal-led company sees good opportunity to grow its customer base as a large part of the cable industry is still not digitised but is fragmented. 

“The DTH market is large because there are still about 90 million customers who have cable and terrestrial connections, so there is still a big upgradation opportunity from cable to DTH,” Airtel India MD and CEO Gopal Vittal said in an earnings call after the Q4 results. He added that there has been some uncertainty and challenges of implementing the TRAI tariff order and that may have been one of the reasons for faster acceleration from cable to DTH and stronger customer additions.

After the Q3 results, Airtel had said that the tariff order will help it increase the average revenue per user (ARPU) of the middle segment too. In the long term, Vittal sees the TRAI tariff order as beneficial.

On the broadband side, the company currently has 2.2 million or 2.3 million customers. Vittal said that although ARPU in the segment is marginally down, it has stabilised due to the revision of pricing. He also added that the churn is exceedingly low while stickiness is high here unlike in wireless.

“One of the things that we are looking to do is to further strengthen that stickiness by bringing in other services across our mobile as well as our DTH platforms into the home. We track that very closely and we have a metric that drives that. We are also trying to see what we can do to digitally enable the several services to be sold seamlessly to customers,” Vittal added.

Vittal also revealed Airtel’s strategy to build a solid digital layer using the strength around data, payments, network and distribution. He also noted that through Airtel Thanks, the company is trying to bring all its services, entertainment, music, video and telco benefits together. It also launched a plan with life insurance. The idea is to create an array of services for improving stickiness with customers as well as increased trade up through ARPU.

“Some of the relationships that we have with Amazon or Netflix or Zee enable us to place pieces of content with premium plans and that drives upgradation. Going forward, we could also look at selling many of these services through our payments platform. We recently began piloting it via our distribution app, Mitra, which is used across a million retailers,” he added.

While the capex level was at its peak last year, Vittal assured that it will be lower in the course of this year. But that would not mean any compromise on consumer experience.

Latest Reads

Sun Direct offers 155 channels for Rs 130 network capacity fee

DTH operator Sun Direct is now allowing subscribers to select up to 155 channels for a monthly network capacity fee of Rs 130/- plus applicable taxes.

DTH DTH Operator
DTH companies against changes to KYC norms for STBs

DTH operators believe that there is no need to change the KYC process for set top boxes (STBs) as the current process is well-equipped to meet the requirements and the DTH industry is already adhering to a comprehensive KYC process, which has been working effectively till date.

DTH DTH Operator
KYC imperative to curb smuggling of DTH STBs outside India: IBF

Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF) has shared its view on the consultation paper by TRAI on ‘KYC of DTH Set Top Boxes’. The association is of view that there is an absolute and an imminent need for introduction and proper enforcement of meaningful KYC or e-KYC stipulations of DTH STBs.

DTH DTH Operator
Tata Sky introduces HD set top box and Binge bundle offer at Rs 4,999

MUMBAI: After the formal announcement of Reliance Jio Fiber plans, other DTH operators are also taking measures to face the upcoming challenge. DTH operator Tata Sky has introduced an attractive offer for consumers.

DTH DTH Operator
Rule the world of entertainment with ‘d2h Magic’ streaming device

MUMBAI: Dish TV India Limited, the world’s largest single-country DTH Company, has launched a one of its kind content streaming solution ‘d2h Magic’ allowing customers to access digital video streaming and OTT apps on their existing d2h set top box. ‘d2h Magic’ will seamlessly bridge the gap...

DTH DTH Operator
Independent TV to resume DTH service any day after 21 August

MUMBAI: DTH operator Independent TV has extended the resumption of its service further. The operator has stated on its website that they expect to go live any day after August 21, next week. The network was supposed to resume its service from August 15 in its new ITV 2.0 avatar .

DTH DTH Operator
The Entertainment Industry Celebrates Tata Sky's 13th Birthday with Chimp&z Inc's #TataSkyTeraHai

Mumbai: Last week, Tata Sky celebrated its 13th anniversary. A brand that stands for entertainment across genres was celebrated all over the internet with tributes pouring in from the peers in the entertainment industry.

DTH DTH Services
Dish TV brings unique value added service for Telugu viewers, launches 'Telugu Active' on DishTV & d2h platforms

Continuing to strengthen its value added service offerings, Dish TV India Limited, world’s largest single-country DTH Company has launched ‘Telugu Active’ VAS service - a one stop ad-free destination for the best of Telugu films & shows. The Telugu Active service is launched in partnership with...

DTH DTH Services
DD Free Dish fills up 3 vacant MPEG-2 slots

MUMBAI: Public service broadcaster Prasar Bharati has allotted vacant slots to three channels on its direct-to-home (DTH) platform DD Free Dish in the 41st e-auction. According to media reports, the pubcaster has garnered Rs 21.69 crore in the latest round of e-auction. Hindi GEC Manoranjan Grand,...

DTH DTH Operator

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories