New Delhi: India’s largest telecom operator by subscriber base Bharti Airtel Ltd plans to soon offer its customers an integrated billing system for their fixed-line, broadband, postpaid mobile and DTH (direct to home) connections with a 5-10% discount on the combined bill, a person aware of the matter said.
The move is aimed at retaining consumers in the hyper-competitive telecom sector.
“Airtel is testing a digital platform that would enable customers to bundle all their Airtel connections into one single bill and do away with hassle of multiple bill cycles...customers can also expect 5-10% discount on the combined total bill," the person said, requesting anonymity.
This, the company expects, would also lead to consumer stickiness in a market that rival Reliance Jio disrupted in September 2016 through cheap data tariffs and free voice calls.
Interestingly, Jio also plans to launch a bundled product that would offer broadband access at 100 mbps speed, entertainment through JioTV and unlimited calling through a VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) phone for less than ₹ 1,000 a month when it launches its fibre-to-home services later this year.
“Airtel is currently testing this service in Hyderabad and expects to launch this over the next 7-10 days starting with southern cities. Airtel home broadband customers will be the first to get this service," the person said. An email query sent to Airtel was unanswered till press time.
Meanwhile, Airtel also plans to push its home broadband offerings in new cities and expand its network coverage in key markets such as Delhi, Bengaluru, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai ahead of a likely commercial launch by Reliance Jio later this year.
For this, Airtel will step up investments behind the home broadband segment by a few hundred crores out of the overall capital expenditure of $4 billion in 2018-19, Mint had reported on 16 May.
Last month, Airtel upped its game and introduced a new home broadband plan with speeds of up to 300 mbps at a monthly rental of ₹ 2,199 with 1,200GB of data. This plan comes with free subscription to Airtel’s OTT apps—Wynk Music and Airtel TV.
At present, Airtel provides wired broadband up to 100 mbps to 2.1 million users across 89 cities in India. As of the quarter ending March, Airtel’s average revenue per user from its ‘Homes Services’ segment was Rs929, registering a decrease of 12.6% year-on-year. Broadband customers account for 94% of its ‘Homes Services’ segment.
As of March end, the company had 304 million mobile customers of which 94% were prepaid customers while Airtel DTH had 14.2 million customers with an average revenue per user of Rs228. Mint could, however, not ascertain the number of customers who use all four services—fixed-line, broadband, postpaid and DTH connections.