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Airtel to launch DTH for cars
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With the start of general elections as a source of revenue Bharti Airtel’s direct-to-home (DTH) arm is ready to launch its mobile DTH units for cars.

The company that launched its DTH operations in October last year is in talks with various automobile companies to install their mobile DTH units.

DTH in cars works with the help of a special auto-tracking antenna that is mounted on the roof of the car. The antenna tracks the company’s satellite placed in orbit at 36,000 km, from where signals will be fed to the set top box placed near the television set inside the car. This will enable seamless transmission of satellite channels in the vehicle.

N Arjun, executive director of DTH Services of Bharti Airtel Ltd says, “We have a product for SUVs, trains and buses. The cost of installations is high. That is why we are talking about higher-end side of the market, like SUVs and trains.”

Not revealing the cost of Bharti Airtel’s mobile DTH unit, N Arjun said, “We are in talks with a host of companies for these products, but haven't commercially launched it right now.”

This service was launched by Essel Group’s Dish TV in 2007, which has found a few hundred takers for this service. A company spokesperson said, “Election is a major puller for this service. Politicians and other interested parties need information round the clock so this keeps them connected to the news all the time. This service is substantially present in the metros.” The installation of a DTH unit in a vehicle costs upwards of Rs 1.5 lakh.

In a market dominated by players like Essel group’s DTH arm, Dish TV, claiming around 5 million subscriber base, followed by Tata Sky (3.5 million subscribers), Sun Direct (3 million subscribers) and Big TV (1.5 million subscribers), Bharti has claimed over 300,000 subscribers since its launch.

Another top executive at Bharti Airtel said, “We are in the media business right from residential, commercial and enterprises space. So pilots and proofs are going on for various opportunities. Nothing to comment on for now.”

Dish TV is also ready to launch its smaller version of the mobile unit with smaller antennae and set top box that can be mounted on any kind of vehicle.

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