Indian DTH Market About to Grow

Via TechWhack:

Airtel and Reliance to offer internet through DTH

Bharti Airtel and Reliance Communications are two companies which are all set to enter the Indian Direct to Home market by launching their services.

They would take on the existing players in the segment including Zee Dish TV and Tata Sky DTH.

However, one interested aspect of their upcoming services is that both Reliance and Airtel are planning to offer satellite-based broadband internet services along with regular DTH services.

Bharti Airtel president, broadband and telephone services, Atul Bindal spoke about their plans: “Satellite internet is a North American model. There are a lot of areas where Bharti would possibly never lay copper cable as it does not make economic sense. In these areas, Bharti will look at a offering broadband through Wi-Max or through DTH.”

Reliance in addition to internet services is also considering offering other services like video on demand to attract more customers to their upcoming BlueMagic service.


And now this bit of promising news from Satellite Finance (subscription):

The Indian government is considering increasing the foreign investment cap in domestic DTH companies from 49% to 74%.

At present the foreign direct investment (FDI) component of any international investment is only 20%. The change in law would bring DTH on a par with cable companies where foreign companies are allowed to own up to 74%, FDI or otherwise.

FDI ownership in a DTH company would, however, remain contingent on a composite shareholding. The move will encourage foreign investment into the sector, with the burgeoning number of cash-starved DTH operators looking to fund their expanding services in a market rife with demand.

Currently, TataSky has 20% FDI, as does Sun Direct TV, while Dish TV has received approval to invite foreign investors to invest in it. The current players in the DTH market are TataSky, Doordarshan and Dish TV with Sun Direct TV, Bharti Airtel and Reliance Communications to roll-out their own services within the next few months.

The government is undertaking a review of foreign investment across all industries, including aviation, media and telecoms. The law change would be of particular interest to Bharti Airtel, which had to reduce its holding in Bharti Telemedia recently due to the existing FDI rules.