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Bharti sparks a broadband battle

Internet services provider Bharti Airtel is all set to launch a price war in the broadband segment, with plans to offer high bandwidth at low prices.

india Updated: Jul 28, 2009 21:27 IST
Manoj Gairola

Internet services provider Bharti Airtel is all set to launch a price war in the broadband segment, with plans to offer high bandwidth at low prices.

Its main competitors – the government-owned Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL) and Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) have said that they would offer services at lower than Bharti prices.

“We are bringing down prices of 1 Mbps broadband speed to Rs 1,699 per month from Rs 2,999 per month,” said K Srinivas, joint president, telemedia services, Bharti Airtel. This is a 43 per cent cut.

The company is also reducing charges for 512 kbps connection by 31 per cent from Rs 1,599 to Rs 1,099 a month. Bharti Airtel has about 12.5 lakh broadband subscribers.

“If our private competition reduces tariff, then we will certainly react and have a look at our tariff,” said MTNL director (technical) Kuldeep Singh. “We are always more competitive than our competitors.”

The company is planning to offer speeds up to 8 Mbps for home users. Currently, MTNL offers broadband speed up to 2 Mbps.

BSNL is also set to lower its tariff. “New plans are being finalised and we will soon announce them,” said a BSNL official who did not want to be identified. “Our plans will be much lower than our competitors.”

BSNL has about 40 lakh broadband subscribers. The company plans to add a broadband capacity of another 50 lakh subscribers. Reliance Communications, another broadband service provider did not comment to HT’s queries.