This article was authored by Dylan Bushell-Embling, and was originally posted on telecomasia.net.
India's Bharti Airtel is reportedly setting up an independent fiber subsidiary, and may turn it into a wholesale infrastructure provider.
The operator has appointed former director of networks Abhay Savargaonkar to lead up the new unit, the Economic Times reported, citing unnamed sources and internal communications reviewed by the publication.
Airtel is in the final stages of transferring its fiber assets to wholly-owned subsidiary Telesonic Networks, and may eventually move these assets to the new subsidiary, the report states. This includes 246,000 route kilometers of fiber cable.
The company may follow the model it used for its tower business – through the establishment of joint venture Indus Towers with Vodafone India and Idea Cellular – and seek to sell substantial stakes in the new subsidiary and establish it as a wholesale infra provider.
The move coincides with plans by disruptive Indian mobile operator Reliance Jio to enter the fixed line market.
After throwing the mobile industry into turmoil with its strategy of offering entirely free services for an extended promotional period, Jio is looking to make a similar splash in the fixed line market.
According to the Financial Express, ahead of the formal rollout of its planned GigaFiber branded FTTH services, Jio is rumored to be planning to offer subscribers 100GB of free fixed wireless data at speeds of up to 100Mbps at no charge.
Customers are also expected to be able to make data top ups at no charge, with each top up adding 40GB of additional mobile data. The promotion is expected to last at least 90 days.
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