Thread Rating:
  • 18 Vote(s) - 2.67 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Should Indian cable TV operators become telcos?
The mobile sector in India is now well established and is also beginning to form the core of a “Quad-Play” marketplace in Indian communications.

Quad-Play means four methods of communication service provision to the consumer - fixed-line (plain old telephony), mobile, broadband and TV.

If you are a Bharti Airtel, Reliance or Tata Teleservices (TTSL) mobile subscriber today in Delhi then the chances are that you pay a sister company owned by one of these entities more than just your mobile phone calls.

All now are able to provide fixed-line voice and broadband services in some areas. Significantly, all now provide TV services through their Direct to Home ("DTH") satellite TV, which started in India in 2005.

TTSL's sister company Tata Sky has been in the market for four years now, but in the past twelve months Bharti has launched Airtel TV and Reliance has launched Reliance Big.

DTH is a direct form of competition to the many cable television (CATV) operators in India today. Today there are around 18 million DTH subscribers in India. Standard Chartered estimates the number of subscribers will grow to around 50 million by March 2013.

The CATV industry - at least in analogue form - has been around since the early 1990s. Today there are around 72 million subscribers but this number looks to be stabilising.

Now if you pause to think for a minute the Indian CATV players have a crucial network asset - the last mile between the switch and the home.

The last mile is a very powerful tool. Not only can it be used for CATV as is the case today, but also fixed-line voice services and crucially broadband internet access services.

As operators focus on upgrading switches, faster transmission speeds are possible down co-axial copper cables between the switches and the home. In Europe nowadays, transmission speeds of 8 and 16Mbps are common. In India, speeds above 1Mbps are rare.

Today there are only 8 million broadband subscribers in India. By March 2013 Standard Chartered estimates there could be 26 million subscribers. The CATV operators could secure a large percentage of this profitable industry.

The issue facing CATV operators in India today is that they see themselves as entertainment companies. This, in my opinion, is misguided strategically and in terms of value creation potential.

CATV's core business is under threat from DTH and it is essential that the CATV operators diversify into new, related businesses to prosper.

My view is that CATV operators should look hard at the Quad-Play proposition.

Overlaying a broadband and fixed-line service over a CATV network is relatively straight-forward.

Providing a mobile service to their CATV subscribers will be more challenging. However the CATV operator should think about becoming a service provider in partnership with an existing mobile operator, just as Virgin Mobile has done with Tata Teleservices.

To make Quad-Play a reality, the CATV operator must first of all apply for a Universal Access Service Licence (“UASL”). However this may be easier said than done.

In India there is a lengthy application period for a UASL as the regulator debates whether there is a need for more integrated telecoms operators in the country.

But given the strategic importance of the last mile, not just for CATV but also for broadband, my hope is that the regulators support CATV operator applications for UASLs.

Once an appropriate licence is secured then management expertise and funding will need to be sourced.

None of this will be easy but surely strategically this is a more positive option for the CATV operators than fighting a defensive battle against DTH?

Diversifying future revenue streams is essential for India's CATV operators. DTH won't destroy CATV but it will seriously constrain value growth upside. Pro-active diversification would allow the operators to prosper once more.

Thanks given by:
Although the subscriber base for Dth is on a rise local cable operators have high influence in areas they operate in. CATV operators can take advantage of the Quad-play by applying for a Universal Access Service Licence. This diversification will ensure long-term results.
Thanks given by:

Possibly Related Threads…
Thread Author Replies Views Last Post
  DTH News: Tata Sky, Dish TV and d2h DTH operators offering instant credit. nairrk 0 15,596 05-01-2020, 06:15 PM
Last Post: nairrk
  Update: Cable TV, DTH ops against capping of carriage fee paid by broadcasters nairrk 0 823 11-13-2019, 10:51 AM
Last Post: nairrk
  DTH News: DTH operators against introduction of KYC norms, location-based services for STBs nairrk 0 952 08-26-2019, 10:41 AM
Last Post: nairrk
  DTH News: You may soon have to pay more for cable, DTH service Sathish 0 763 12-18-2018, 09:21 PM
Last Post: Sathish
  General News: Tata Sky woos cable TV customers in South through new ad campaign with Nayanthara nairrk 0 1,050 05-07-2018, 11:33 AM
Last Post: nairrk
  DTH News: Tata Sky, DEN most attractive DTH, cable brands: TRA Research nairrk 0 1,501 12-16-2017, 10:38 AM
Last Post: nairrk
  DTH News: Indian govt urged to allow DTH ops to strike long-term deals with satellite ops nairrk 0 847 12-14-2017, 02:44 PM
Last Post: nairrk
  DTH News: Tata Sky out to grab cable TV customers with two new packs nairrk 0 1,032 07-21-2017, 11:51 AM
Last Post: nairrk
  DTH News: Transponder Charges: Plan afoot to retain DTH services on Indian Sats nairrk 0 1,245 06-12-2017, 02:34 PM
Last Post: nairrk
  DTH News: Dish TV offers sops to Indian armed forces nairrk 0 3,523 01-18-2017, 07:47 AM
Last Post: nairrk

Forum Jump:

Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)