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Fibre broadband underserved mkt, renewed efforts to help firms gain wallet share: Report

New Delhi

India’s fibre broadband is an underserved market at about 3 million subscribers, and renewed efforts will help operators gain ‘wallet share’ among top-end of consumption class, in turn, supporting converged offerings, according to a report. India’s wireline broadband market is seeing a pickup with one million new connections in year to date – more than FY17-20 combined – crossing the 20 million mark.

“As per Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) data, amid the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns, India broadband wireline market added 1 million new connections year to date in the current year to 20.1 million total subscribers,” CLSA said in a recent report on the sector capturing ‘pick up in fibre broadband’. The report noted that among the operators, Reliance Jio added highest new subscribers to reach nearly 1.2 million and Bharti Airtel is the largest private operator with 2.5 million users.

Jio, it observed, has introduced lower price entry plans, Bharti Airtel has followed and both now offer unlimited data. “India’s fibre broadband is an underserved market at about 3 million subscribers and renewed efforts will help operators gain wallet share among top-end of India’s consumption class which in turn could support converged offerings,” it said. Wallet share or share of wallet is a marketing term used to denote portion of customer’s spend on a particular item, or service.

The addition this year so far, is higher than cumulative 0.9 million subscriber addition over FY17-20, according to the report which further pointed that India wireline broadband market had stagnated at mere 0.3 million annual adds over past three years. State-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) remains the largest incumbent wireline broadband player at 7.9 million total subscribers.

“Within wireline broadband, share of fibre is growing faster yet it is limited at 15 per cent/3 million of the total, and overall broadband penetration is still abysmal at 7 per cent of all-India households,” it said. India’s wireline broadband market is an estimated USD 2 billion which is under 10 per cent of the current USD 22 billion annual revenues of India mobile market and is “heavily underserved”.

“Hence, renewed efforts could help Jio and Bharti Airtel gain wallet share among the top-end of India’s consumption class which in turn could support converged offerings,” it added.

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