Fixed line broadband market grew for first time in 10 years in FY22

Ayushi Kar | | Updated on: Jun 26, 2022


Experts say the new growth trend is here to stay

Even as mobile user base dips due to the increase in tariffs, wireline subscribers grew for the first time in 10 years in FY22. Fixed-line broadband saw a nearly 23 per cent jump year-on-year to 24.8 million subscribers by the end of the 2022 fiscal. This comes even as the wireline market saw no growth during the peak Covid years. Experts suggest this indicates that the fixed-line broadband market is stabilising and maturing, which is why they predict that the market will see further growth in the future.

BSNL continues to have the largest share of subscribers at 7.5 million, followed by Jio, which has 6.2 subscribers nationwide. Bharti Airtel has 5.9 million wireline subscribers. According to the report by Spark Capital, telcos continue to have an edge over the regional Internet service providers, with the largest market share hold. 

Internet for the household

Experts suggest the reason why the fixed broadband market is growing for the first time in 10 years is that the utility of connectivity is moving far beyond things such as entertainment or work. “You are starting to see components of the smart-home be incorporated into the household. This includes smart locks, security cameras. The tariff hikes taken by telcos is also another reason, why fixed line could be proliferating more. Households could be downgrading most of their members to more affordable cellular plans, and supplementing their data demand with fixed-line broadband,” said Faisal Kawooza, founder of TechArc.

Another major hurdle faced by fixed broadband players is the informal ban on the import of modems from China. Telecom Engineering Centre has not been clearing Chinese-made modems during the mandatory testing that communications equipment has to undergo. An expert told BusinessLine on conditions of anonymity that “fixed-line broadband industry could have expanded much faster, especially during the work from the home era in the pandemic. However, the proliferation of the market was delayed due to the China ban”. 

Kawoosa, however, noted that the new growth trend, which was seen in FY22, is here to stay, given that consumers are discovering a wider range of ways in which Internet connectivity could be used at home. 

Published on June 26, 2022
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