iWorld

Cable TV, DTH players cautiously optimistic on Jio fiber competition

Stakeholders feel it?d be challenging to take fiber to flat residential areas

https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/smartcrop_800x800/public/images/tv-images/2018/07/06/Jio_GigaFiber.jpg?itok=360H__7Q

MUMBAI: The terminator…, oops sorry, the disruptor is back. And, this time it is targeting India’s multi-billion-dollar cable TV and DTH businesses with promises to unleash high-speed fixed line fiber-based broadband services that aims to “connect everyone, and everything, everywhere” --- at least in 1,100 cities to begin with. No wonder the legacy businesses are eyeing the announcement on the launch of Reliance Jio GigaFiber project with a mix of healthy skepticism and optimism.

“It will be a challenge, but then this would increase general awareness about fixed-line broadband (FLBB) services as penetration of wired broadband is pretty low,” Kerala Communicators Cable Ltd (KCCL) CEO Shaji Mathews told Indiantelevision.com when asked about the big bang launch of Jio GigaFiber from 15 August 2018, which is also backed by Reliance Industries’ money power.

According to Mathews, Jio GigaFiber rollout would help getting the focus back on good quality FLLB services as “over the years the industry in general had been focusing on and talking more about wireless broadband”. KCCL is an initiative of independent cable TV operators in Kerala under the guidance of Cable Operators Association (COA), an umbrella union of over 4,000 local cable operators functioning all over the southern state.

What about the gorilla in the room? Mathews, who has spent almost a life time in the cable TV business, was of the opinion that Jio’s entry into the FLLB segment would “bring true value to real players as the capable cable ops will survive” the competition. “Moreover, as the cable companies are already on ground with existing businesses, they have an added benefit of existing fiber optics,” he added optimistically.

Echoing similar sentiments SITI Networks Limited chief business officer Rajesh Sethi, while accepting further disruption --- as in Jio fiber -- was expected in the content delivery eco-system, said, “As we keep pace with changing technological trends, the industry is expected to become more multifaceted, efficient and customer centric.”

A senior rep from another MSO company who didn’t want to be named felt that with the entry of cash-rich companies like Reliance Jio, it would help legacy players to “focus better” on the core business. “The new venture of Jio will also bring back investors’ focus on the sector, apart from increased awareness among consumers,” the MSO company exec added while talking to Indiantelevision.com.

India’s FLBB penetration was expected to increase to 10.3 per cent from the present single digit share by year 2022 as per Singapore-based Media Partners Asia research. As content and applications were also getting heavier and denser in size gradually, there were fair chances that Jio could disrupt the market, while other players have equal opportunity too in this segment, the MPA analysis had stated some time back.

An immediate effect of the Jio fiber project announcement was that shares of listed MSO companies like Hathway Cable & Datacom, Den Networks, GTPL Hathway and SITI Networks dropped in the early part of trading on Indian bourses. It must also be mentioned that shares of Reliance Industries too had dipped in early trading as RIL chairman Mukesh Ambani was addressing the shareholders at yesterday’s company annual general meeting.

While the spotlight may be falling on cable operators and MSOs, there is no denying the fact that Jio GigaFiber could also impact the business plans of DTH platforms and incumbent telecom players like Airtel, Vodafone and even State-run BSNL as Jio plans to offer not only just FLBB, but also a host of other telecom and TV services, apart from smart solutions for the retail consumer’s home, in general.

India’s DTH players, for example, felt that while fiber-based broadband services could be a good option for high-rise residential complexes in urban Indian cities, it would be a challenge to lay fiber in far-flung hilly areas or take the lines into homes in those places where houses are horizontally laid out.  

For cities like Mumbai, Bengaluru and Gurugram, having rows and rows of high-rise gated residential complexes, fiber based broadband services was a good opportunity, but it would be an expensive affair for a row of houses, DTH operator Dish TV’s managing director Jawahar Goel was quoted by BloombergQuint as saying. He added: “For delivering the cable and DTH services, we will always have the competitive edge, as our cost is lesser.”

Telcos like Bharti Airtel, considered India’s biggest operator in terms of market and subscriber shares, however, are expected to react to the impending Jio competition in FLLB by cutting subscription rates and handing out higher monthly data packages to consumers at reduced costs.

Over the last few months, Airtel, for example, has been aggressively attempting to sell its high-speed digital fixed line broadband services to existing consumers in Delhi and National Capital Region, which includes areas like Gurugram and places like Vaishali and Kaushambi in Ghaziabad district and Noida --- all having rows of high-rise residential complexes of various sizes with varied population.

Meanwhile, telecom industry body Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), which has been at loggerheads with member Reliance Jio over a slew of issues in the past, yesterday termed Jio's fixed-line fiber broadband system as a "game changer" and said the company garnering over 200 million mobile users in a short span of time is "commendable", according to a Press Trust of India report from New Delhi.

"The announcements made by Mukesh Ambani (RIL chairman) have positioned RJio as an extensive technology company rather than just a telecom service provider. This is an interesting development and once the plans laid out today start taking shape, we can expect new streams of revenue to be initiated that will benefit the industry," COAI director-general Rajan S Mathews was quoted by the wire service as having said in a statement.

The PTI report also took note of a latest note from JP Morgan that said while there were no details yet on pricing of the upcoming optic fiber broadband service, it was of the view that given Jio’s customer acquisition strategy, the launch pricing should effectively be at a "large discount" to current broadband and set top box pricing prevalent.

Latest Reads

https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2020/03/28/tab.jpg?itok=_1yuwI8S
Over 10 mn paid for OTT video subscriptions in 2019: FICCI-EY report

The Indian media and entertainment industry has moved beyond the era where consumers are not willing to pay for premium content online. Although the number of paying consumers remains low compared to overall users, the growth is visible, according to FICCI-EY 2020 report.

iWorld Over The Top Services
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2020/03/26/shemaroo.jpg?itok=KdvIE6Cu
Shemaroo Entertainment and Resso inks music licensing deal

MUMBAI: Shemaroo Entertainment Limited has entered into a strategic music licensing partnership with Resso in India, the world’s first social music streaming app from ByteDance, the international technology company based out of Beijing and the parent company of TikTok. Through this association,...

iWorld Over The Top Services
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2020/03/26/ott.jpg?itok=dwdxh8P3
Time spent on OTT audio streaming apps goes up by 42%

MUMBAI: The COVID19 crisis has changed the average Indian’s life. With schools and colleges being shut coupled with corporates and governments encouraging employees to work from home, Indians in the metropolitan cities are looking at ways to keep themselves entertained and/ or to find “companions...

iWorld Over The Top Services
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2020/03/26/zee5.jpg?itok=3btvrIys
ZEE5 opens up premium, new original shows for free

MUMBAI: During this unprecedented situation and lockdown across the country, ZEE5 is providing an uninterrupted dose of entertainment to all those who are confined to their home via its initiative #BeCalmBeEntertained. As part of this initiative, ZEE5 will bring a slate of new original shows for...

iWorld Over The Top Services
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2020/03/26/hoichoi.jpg?itok=84DTIJlj
Hoichoi taking measures to reduce internet consumption overload

MUMBAI: In the wake of COVID-19 security measures, where the government is advising the population to stay home, work from home and follow social distancing, internet consumption has risen to such an extent that the COAI (Cellular Operators Association of India) has requested prominent streaming...

iWorld Over The Top Services
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2020/03/26/likee.jpg?itok=TwHe1qTx
Short video app Likee educating people on corona, busting myths

MUMBAI: The world has resorted to ‘social distancing’ in a bid to come out safe of the fierce battle against deadly Covid-19 or Coronavirus. India on its part has upped the ante against the pandemic, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi announcing a 21-day nationwide lockdown. This has left the common...

iWorld Over The Top Services
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2020/03/26/work-from-home.jpg?itok=1cdq13Gs
It’s learning time for honchos as they acclimatise to new workstations

Remote working is the new norm in the industry in these difficult times. With the governments across the crisis-hit countries announcing lockdown, even top-notch executives now have to confine their work space in a room.

iWorld Over The Top Services
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2020/03/26/mob.jpg?itok=pBegLO52
Facebook ad biz weakening despite upsurge in users

Streaming services, social media services and apps are emerging as the unwitting beneficiaries of an unprecedented situation which has forced people to stay at their homes. The usage of Facebook has gone up in many of the countries hit hardest by the novel coronavirus.

iWorld Social Media
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2020/03/25/amazon.jpg?itok=S9jCr5TY
Amazon Prime Video makes selection of kids and family content free to watch

MUMBAI: This week, Amazon Prime Video has made a selection of kids and family content available free to watch for all Amazon customers, including Just add Magic, The Dangerous Book for Boys, Wishenpoof, If you give a Mouse a Cookie, and many more.

iWorld Over The Top Services

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories

* indicates required