New Delhi: Sunil Mittal-led Bharti Teletech said on 10 June it is targeting to double sales of its free-to-air set-top boxes (STB) in terms of volumes to consolidate its market share to 30% by the end of this fiscal.
The company, the largest manufacturer and distributor of telecom and allied products in India, also leads in the organized market of free-to-air digital STBs in the country with an 18% share since launching ‘Beetel’ set-top box towards 2005-end.
“The company sold 175,000 set-top box units last fiscal, up from 65,000 units in 2005-2006. We are now looking at increasing the sales to 350,000 units by the end of the current fiscal,” Bharti Teletech CEO Pawan Kapur told PTI.
“We are looking at further enhancing our leadership by capturing 30% of market by the end of the current financial year. The entry into the STB segment has enabled Bharti Teletech to shore up its revenues in the last fiscal,” he said.
To meet this target, the company plans to increase its distribution network. “Today, we have a national network of 225 distributors, 5,000 retailers and 152 service centres in the upcountry and rural parts for the STB segment. The company is planning to augment the network to 325 distributors, 6,500 retailers and 225 service centres by the end of this fiscal”, he said.
Aided by lowering of prices to Rs1,700-3,400 for a STB and dish antenna, which would enable views in semi-urban and rural areas to catch the free-to-air Doordarshan channels and more channels are on the offing once DD takes a final decision regarding them, Kapur said, adding the company would try to further reduce prices through focus on research and development.
Kapur said over 100 million homes in India have television and cable systems provide entertainment to around 50% of these homes. The remaining 50% rely on the traditional antenna-based system, which provide only a limited number of channels.
With STBs, these households can watch 35 free-to-air channels on the C & KU band frequency, in addition to the regional channels. They can also access 20 radio channels of Prasar Bharti. The company was targeting this segment in semi-urban and rural areas, he said.
Bharti Teletech currently imports these boxes from its contract manufacturers in China and would wait to achieve a critical mass in sales to take a decision on manufacturing locally, Kapur said.