Telecom player Bharti Airtel will target high-end consumers of the top six to seven cities as part of its IPTV (Internet Protocol Television) strategy.
“Our IPTV trials started three quarters ago in 1,000 households in Gurgaon and we will launch our service before the end of the financial year. We will deliberately go slow, rolling out in Delhi first in a phased manner and then go to the other top seven cities in the country,” Atul Bindal, President, Airtel Broadband & Telephone Services (ABTS) told Hindustan Times.
Clarifying that it will pursue different strategies for its DTH and IPTV offerings, Bindal said, “IPTV will be targeted at top-end customers. Customers outside this ambit will be the target for DTH. With DTH, we would be able to offer pan-India coverage and serve all customers. With IPTV, we would be able to offer a superior service to customers in the areas served by our fixed line network.”
Other players with interest in the IPTV space include Reliance, BSNL, VSNL, MTNL and Microsoft. MTNL has already rolled out its IPTV service.
Bharti Airtel’s IPTV service will be offered as a bundled offering along with other services and the customer would be provided one combined bill at the end of the month. “We have been upgrading our network to carrier-grade Ethernet for the IPTV services—it has been completed in Delhi and is beginning soon in Bangalore. We would deliver the service through a backbone of Carrier Ethernet network and last mile delivery on copper using ADSL2+ technology,” Bindal added.
According to reports, Bharti Airtel has partnered with UTStarcom, a player in VoIP, mobile internet, internet television and telecommunication solutions for its IPTV project.
An eMarketer forecast in April 2007 said that, there would be 41.1 million IPTV households worldwide in 2011, up from approximately five million in 2006.