Telecom and broadband rivals will be forced to consider their options on how to compete with the much-awaited Reliance Jio Fiber home broadband services which launch commercially in early September. And if there is one ingredient that cannot be ignored, it is “bundling”. At the 42nd Annual General Meeting (Post-IPO) of Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), the company confirmed that the Jio Fiber broadband plans will be priced from Rs 700 per month, for speeds between 100Mbps and 1Gbps. But that is not all. With the broadband you get a bundled landline phone connection, a cable TV line, subscription to OTT streaming services and also the First Day First Show service. Bundling of services therefore becomes a keyword.
It is no surprise then that Airtel is already considering the bundling option seriously. Perhaps belatedly too. The Economic Times reports that Bharti Airtel could consider adding an Airtel Black tier to the Airtel Thanks platform, for the higher value customers. The Airtel Black tier is, the report suggests, expected to include add-ons such as lounge access, bundled international roaming plans and more. At present, Airtel Thanks has Gold and Platinum tiers, for Rs 499 or lesser bill plans and Rs 500 or more bill plans.
This is not the first time Bharti Airtel has attempted the whole bundling thing, at least if they go ahead with Airtel Black.
Back in June 2018, the company had announced the Airtel Home, and called it India’s first Quad-Pay platform. The idea was to “allow customers to bundle multiple Airtel relationships – home broadband (and fixed line), postpaid mobile and digital TV – as a single account,” the company had said at the time. This basically meant that for any and all Airtel services and products that you may own, there would be one single bill every month. The customers would also get a discount on the total bill amount, up to 10%. At that time, Airtel released this in Hyderabad with the promise of a pan-India rollout subsequently. That never happened.
Airtel could do well to revive the Airtel Home platform, and roll it out across India. With that, perhaps better bundled tariffs for postpaid mobile, home broadband and direct to home (DTH) connections could do well to keep existing users and potential new users interested.
Along with the Jio Fiber service, the Jio Home Phone service will be bundled as well. The local and STD voice calls from this wireline phone, will be absolutely free. The international calling tariffs will also be as much as 1/10th of the prevailing rates. At the AGM, the company also confirmed that there will be an unlimited calling plan for US and Canada, priced at Rs 500 per month. Television is the third pillar of the Jio Fiber service. The company conforms that users will be able to subscribe to high definition television service with the 4K set top box (STB) bundled. These will be able to receive signals from the local cable operators and offer the channels and bouquets that you may wish to subscribe to. As part of the Jio Fiber Welcome Offer, the company says they will be offering a free HD/4K TV and a 4K STB for free to anyone who subscribes to the Jio Forever Annual Plans. Also, The Jio Fiber broadband service will bundle the subscriptions to popular over the top (OTT) streaming services, as part of the subscription. All this, in one bill.
Reliance also says that in the middle of next year, they will roll out the First Day First Show offering for Jio Fiber subscribers, which will allow them to watch and enjoy the new movie releases on the same day as their release in cinema halls and movie theatres in India.
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