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DTH business continues to see headwinds: Airtel CEO Gopal Vittal

The new tariff order brought by TRAI did not provide any benefit to the industry.

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MUMBAI: At Bharti Airtel's fourth quarter 2022 results CEO Gopal Vittal noted that the DTH business continues to see headwinds.

During the company's Q4 FY22 earnings conference call, Vittal said, “While the category continues to see a significant long-term opportunity for upgradation from cable, it’s also a classic case of an industry that has been brought to its knees due to excessive regulation”.  

"The new tariff order brought about by TRAI a few years ago mandated every miniscule aspect of pricing in an industry which was managed until then very simply through forbearance. This created an overwhelming amount of complexity for the DTH players and even more importantly for the customer with no benefit to any stakeholder”, he further elaborated.

Vittal added, “The second aspect of skewed regulation is to do with the very same content being made available for free. This is what happens on free-to-air channels and there is, mind you, very good content in many cases here with just windowing or it is being made available on the same screen through a broadband pipe at unregulated prices. This is what happens on OTT platforms. As a result, the DTH industry has been crippled."

"We are glad to see that TRAI has just come out with a new consultation paper on tariffs and we hope that at the end of this consultation, regulations will be lightened so that we can focus on what we do best, keep things simple and serve customers," he added.

Further, talking about the results he said, “during the year the company added Rs 13,440 crores to the top line and just under Rs 8,150 crores of earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization to our India business alone. Beyond these numbers, what was even more satisfying is that we grew competitively in every part of our business; mobility, broadband, DTH and Airtel business grew market share to reach lifetime highs."

Vittal also explained the reason behind increasing tariffs. "We challenged ourselves to find a way to expand the reach of our home broadband presence after Covid and cracked an extremely innovative partnership with thousands of local cable operators using our digital promise. We strengthened our portfolio in airtel business through innovations in cPaaS and Airtel Secure. We continue to invest over Rs 20,400 crores into CapEx across our network, data centers, submarine cable capacities, and digital. Finally, we strengthened our partnerships. Use Airtel JV, the investment into level for SD-WAN, which is a software-defined wide-area network, for blockchain, Oracle for data centers, and Google as a strategic equity partner," he added.

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