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Airtel to venture into IPTV, DTH services news
22 October 2007
New Delhi: Bharti Airtel is planning to tap the fast growing streams of IPTV and DTH to maintain its leadership in the domestic market through TV services.

Bharti Airtel is planning a roll out of its triple play services, IPTV across Delhi and the national capital region (NCR) within the next two months. It''s DTH services will reportedly be launched across India during the first quarter of next fiscal, i.e. April - June 2008.

According to Puneet Garg, Bharti Airtel general manager for IPTV, the company is awaiting regulatory approvals, which are anticipated soon, following which it will roll out the IPTV services within the next two months.

Once feedback is received from the NCR rollout, Airtel would launch its IPTV services across the country. The IPTV service would integrate TV with internet services, and voice over internet protocol (VoIP).

Public sector telecom companies MTNL and BSNL have already launched IPTV service across select cities including Delhi, Mumbai and Pune, amongst others. Reliance''s RCom is also reported to be planning its IPTV services rollout sometime soon.

According to N Arjun, head of DTH operations at Bharti Airtel, the company has received the license for providing DTH services, and plans to launch its services across India by the first quarter of next financial year.

Already operational players in the DTH space include Zee group''s DishTV, Tatas'' Tata Sky and Prasar Bharati''s DD Direct. They have a subscriber base of over 5 million customers. In the coming months, another two players, Sun TV''s Sun Direct and Reliance''s DTH "Bluemagic" are expected to hit the market.

Bharti would reportedly be investing around Rs150 crore in the initial phase, and is likely to see some stiff competition from existing players DishTV and Tata Sky. The duo have announced a combined investment of over Rs3,000 crore in order to maintain their current market leading positions.

Analysts estimate that the DTH subscriber base will increase to 15 million by 2012.

Bharti plans to set up state-of-the-art infrastructure near Gurgaon (Haryana) for uplinking and broadcast of its DTH service. The company has acquired transponders from recently launched 4CR Insat.

Zee''s DishTV has reportedly invested Rs800 crore over the last three years, and had recently announced an investment of another Rs1,100 crore over the next two years with a view to retaining its strong foothold in the competitive DTH space. It currently has 2.25 million subscribers, is looking at securing a user base of 16-17 million by 2015.

Tata Sky has one million subscribers, and plans to invest Rs2,000 crore over the medium term to give a boost to its value-added DTH services. For its part, Tata Sky is reported to be looking at a user base of eight million subscribers by 2012, which translates to over 50 per cent market share across the pay segment on current estimates.

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Airtel to venture into IPTV, DTH services