Airtel and Reliance Jio are at it since the launch of Jio 4G in India three years ago. The competition between the two telcos has only turned beneficial for the newly-launched telecom operator. While disrupting the entire telco industry and leading the market into a rapid consolidation, Reliance Jio has managed to stay clear of any losses as compared to rivals, Airtel and Vodafone Idea. The biggest question now is will Jio's nemesis Airtel survive the latest JioFiber wave?
Reliance Jio finally launched JioFiber in India on Thursday, revealing all details such as plans, launch offers, freebies, and more. JioFiber goes up against Airtel V-Fiber, but the margin for competition in the broadband sector is not as high as the telecom market. The incumbents should still be worried as JioFiber launch offers, plans and bundles are appealing.
Anticipation for JioFiber is extremely high - more than 5 lakh registrations have already been placed with Jio for the FTTH broadband connection. The telco launched five monthly prepaid plans, starting at Rs 699 for 100Mbps all the way up to Rs 8,499 for 1Gbps plan. Airtel, on the other hand, offers V-Fiber plans starting at Rs 799 a month, which shows there isn't a lot of difference. But that changes when we look at the details.
JioFiber vs Airtel V-Fiber
Let's take the basic packages of both service providers into comparison. JioFiber's Bronze plan (Rs 699/month) offers 100Mbps speed for 150GB data, which includes extra 50GB for six months. Post the FUP limit, the speed will be dropped to 1Mbps for the rest of the billing cycle.
As for Airtel's Basic V-Fiber plan (Rs 799 a month), users get 100GB data with up to 40Mbps speed. As the competition has beefed up, Airtel is giving 200GB extra data for six months. Airtel wins on the data limit but loses out of the broadband speed against JioFiber. The choice is left with the consumers.
Moving up the ladder, JioFiber has Silver, Gold and Diamond plans priced at Rs 849, Rs 1,299 and Rs 2,499 per month, respectively. The Silver plan offers 100Mbps speed for a total of 400GB, which includes 200GB extra data for six months. The Gold tier offers 250Mbps with a total of 750GB, including 250GB extra data and the Diamond plan comes with 1,500GB high-speed data limit at 500Mbps.
Airtel V-Fiber has two other plans, Entertainment and Premium, priced at Rs 1,099 and Rs 1,599 per month, respectively. The Entertainment plan comes with 300GB high-speed data limit with up to 100Mbps speed. There's additional 500GB extra data for six months, giving a total of 800GB to its subscribers. The Premium package offers 600GB plus 1,000GB bonus data for six months with up to 300Mbps speed, which is the maximum Airtel offers.
But if you're craving for higher speed, JioFiber is the way to go. The ISP provides Platinum and Titanium packages, both with up to 1Gbps speed. The Platinum plan costs Rs 3,999 per month and offers a total of 2,500GB high-speed data and the Titanium plan at Rs 8,499 a month gives a total of 5,000GB data.
Interestingly, Airtel offers a truly unlimited V-Fiber plan at Rs 1,999 per month, where the speed is 100Mbps without any data limit. The VIP plan, as Airtel calls it, gets all the extra benefits of Premium plan.
While both carriers offer unlimited local and STD voice calls via fixed-line connection, JioFiber comes bundled with TV video calling and conferencing, zero-latency gaming, device security for up to 5 devices, access to OTT apps along with Jio Suite of apps, a free Jio Home Gateway and Jio 4K set-top-box.
Airtel makes its pitch with free Airtel XStream video streaming service in all plans, while the Entertainment and Premium plans additionally get Netflix (3 months), Amazon Prime (1 year) and Zee 5 Premium for free.
Jio 4K STB vs Airtel XStream Box
JioFiber customers get a free Jio 4K STB, in response to which Airtel launched XStream Box at Rs 3,999. Both set-top-boxes are alike on few fronts, like they support live TV channels and OTT apps like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and YouTube. While Jio 4K STB supports all Jio entertainment apps, Airtel XStream Box gives access to Airtel Store and Airtel XStream app. Both providers also offer access to HD channels, but it looks like Jio wins with a larger content offering.
As for the differences between the two media boxes, Airtel XStream Box is powered by Android OS and it can allow users to download apps, and content and also stream from whichever OTT platform they choose. But Jio 4K STB gets way ahead with these offerings:
- Allows voice calling
- Video calling up to 4 people
- Supports online multiplayer gaming with zero latency
- Supports AR/VR capabilities
Should Airtel be worried?
According to ET, Airtel has 2.3 million fixed broadband customers and 16 million DTH subscribers as of June. Analysts believe Airtel, with its XStream platform, will be able to tackle the competition from JioFiber. The analysts believe JioFiber's pricing is not threatening and Airtel subscribers don't get a huge incentive for making a switch.
"Jio's home broadband plans are "13-23% cheaper versus peers in absolute terms, but the data allowance in 20-40% lower, due to which JioFiber is effectively 8-27% costlier than Bharti Airtel," CLSA said in a note seen by ET.