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Now, Jio aims to shake up home broadband with JioFiber

30 May 2017

Reliance Jio Infocomm is working towards commercial launch of its home broadband services around Diwali, with offers that are likely to trigger another price war similar to what its entry in the mobile services segment caused.

The base pack from JioFiber, the company's home broadband arm, is likely to be 100 GB of data for Rs500, The Economic Times reported citing a person familiar with the matter. Rivals currently offer about half that data at double the price.

Home broadband is a small market in India with less than 20 million wire line broadband users compared with 200 million users for wireless broadband. State-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd accounts for more than half of it. But the average user pays much more for fixed-line broadband.

In the fourth quarter of fiscal 2017, for instance, Bharti Airtel's average revenue per user in the home broadband segment was Rs1,064 against Rs162 in the mobile data business, the ET report says.

Bharti Airtel, which along with other operators was badly bruised in the mobile price war with Jio, has already started offering enhanced data volumes under its existing plans in fixed-line and home broadband, where it is the second-largest player.

From June, Jio plans to expand its free trial offer beyond the few cities where it is currently available, ET's source said. This will culminate with the commercial launch in September or October, just ahead of the Diwali festive season.

The JioFiber network is capable of carrying data at speeds up to 100 Mbps. It is currently being rolled out in at least 10 large cities, including all metros, in addition to Delhi's satellite towns of Noida and Gurgaon.

The company is identifying mega clusters such as high-rise residential apartments and commercial establishments as a part of its phase-II expansion programme to connect 100 locations by December, the person who spoke to ET said. It is also mulling to allot subscribers a Wi-Fi router at an affordable refundable deposit.

BSNL had nearly 10 million users in the home broadband segment as of 31 March, followed by Bharti Airtel at about 1.95 million, according to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India.

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