The race isn’t to be number one, but it has now become to be in the game
Bharti Airtel India’s third largest telecom service provider has launched a comeback plan ‘XStream’ to compete with Reliance Jio’s ‘JioFiber’. Content has now become the king. Every digital-content streaming platform is now capitalizing on the fast growing audience of this ‘Binge Watching’ generation.
The war earlier done -
Jio and Airtel have been in the war of market share since 2016 when Jio first launched its low-priced mobile data services. Strategically Airtel responded to this price war with its new low-priced data services quite late after the launch of Jio. Mobile operators in India are in the ‘Smartphone’ generation, where the phones have an added feature of dual-SIM card. With JIO’s low tariff plans on data usage, customers started using this second SIM space with JIO. Free SIM schemes started by JIO in late 2016, JioFi dongle with WiFi facility through JIO SIM card added to the subscription spree.
The Xstream platform
Airtel’s new plan ‘XStream’ is launched as a face-lift of the Airtel TV-app with new content inventory. The idea is to come up with an ‘All-in-One’ platform where the user can experience Live Television, video, music, sports, and news through an OTT smart stick, internet set-top box and other handheld devices and shows directly from platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video etc, all now available at one place,thus converting any TV to smart TV. ‘Xstream’ platform is launched as a single solution for watching content. The ‘XStream’ platform has come up with varied versions.
‘Phone-Only’ will come with 350 plus live TV channels, movies and shows from digital streaming platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime, ZEE5 etc, thus a form of content compilation from various other OTT operators at a single place
Xstream Website is the same app based version to access the platform on browser from any device. https://www.airtelxstream.in/ - A desktop version of Xstream APP
‘Xstream’ Stick (Fiber Stick)- Android based OTT (over-the-top) –
‘Use on TV’, launched at Rs.3999 with access to Airtel’s movie library and its music platform ‘Wynk’. Converting a TV to smart TV taking entire content with ease on TV. Existing Platinum and Gold members of Airtel will get complimentary access to the content subscription plan of stick. Other customers will need to subscribe the plan at Rs.999 p.a. with a free access to the content for the first 30 days of such subscription of the stick.
Video of Xstream stick - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wwZGf-TRH7U
Experience watching TV channels along with watching content available on Stick all in a single box. It comes with a subscription plan of Rs.3999 comes with 500 plus TV channels, added OTT library, voice controlled remote and hot keys for Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and YouTube. The box has an added feature of making your television as your ‘gamepad’.
The box offers a complimentary one-year subscription of Rs.999 to all Xstream app content in addition to a one-month subscription to an HD DTH pack. Existing Airtel Digital TV customers can upgrade to the Airtel Xstream box for ₹2,249.
‘Xstream’ is majorly focused on bringing digital content at one place. Where users are subscribing Netflix, Amazon Prime, HooQ etc. separately and paying for annual subscriptions on these platform - ‘Xstream’ will be one time subscription for all such platforms at one place and a compilation of all above
However Airtel is not focusing on easing broadband connectivity and internet usage schemes for the users, like JIO its biggest rival.
Airtel has come up with this strategic move to counter Reliance Jio’s ‘JioFiber’ plan commercially rolling out on 5th September. The strategic move behind JioFiber is to disrupt the existing broadband space by creating a price war similar Jio’s mobile services in 2016.
Jio’s GigaFiber broadband subscription starts with base plan of minimum fare of Rs. 700 a month and a top-end plan priced at Rs. 10,000 with unlimited data. The plan holistically includes landline connection, HD or 4K connection, free voice calls, low cost international voice calling, unlimited ISD calling to US, Canada at Rs.500 p.m. Narrow band Internet of Things (NBIoT) which focuses on PAN India level connection, the service is expected to be commercially available from 1st January, 2020. ‘Jio Forever’ plan for annual subscribers will get HD or 4K LED TV set along with set-top box absolutely free. ‘Jio First Day First Show’ is a disruptive concept where users can watch movies through the service the day after release. JIO is also coming up with ‘Smart TV’ with embedded phone features like video calling, phone calling, live streaming etc.
In the new competition of providing entertainment and content through digital media, Airtel is responding fast with competitive offers by not only matching its biggest rival JIO, but has also entered a new market space to compete with other competitors with similar products like ‘Amazon Fiber Stick’, ‘Chrome Cast Ultra’ and many more competing with ‘Xstream Stick’.
However, any updates on broadband is still missing and the idea of all-in-one box i.e entertainment and broadband with calling is missing in Airtel response.
What is appealing is that what new value addition can be offered to the end-users.
With every passing move something new is there to enhance customer experience. The race to survive is not over yet, or is it?