Launched on Tuesday, Jio AirFiber will come with a bundled offer of 550+ digital television (TV) channels and 14 over-the-top (OTT) applications (apps), and it will be cheaper than a similar offering by rival Airtel launched in July, the company has announced.
Aimed at solving the challenge of last-mile connectivity for fibre optic cables, Jio AirFiber will act as a personal WiFi hotspot in homes, connected to ultra-high-speed internet using Jio’s 5G service.
Jio AirFiber will be available at a minimum price of Rs 599 per month, while the Jio AirFiber Max will be priced starting at Rs 1,499, the company said.
Airtel Xstream AirFiber, launched in July, offers users the service with a one-time refundable security deposit of Rs 2,500 and a monthly subscription of Rs 799 per month. It also requires a minimum commitment of six months.
Jio said users can now access their favourite shows from as far back as they want, while the OTT apps can be watched on any device such as TV, laptop, mobile, or tablet.
The basic difference in reach will also set the two companies apart for now. Airtel’s service is available to 5G consumers in Delhi and Mumbai, delivering speeds of up to 100 megabits per second for Rs 799 per plan.
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On the other hand, Jio AirFiber will be available in eight cities: Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai, and Pune.
Jio will also provide AirFiber users with a 4K set-top box and outdoor network devices, in addition to the WiFi router, all for free.
Airtel currently only offers a free router. Notably, Airtel’s service doesn’t require installation, whereas Jio’s will require the installation of an outdoor unit for Rs 1,000. Jio argues that its AirFiber will offer a stronger signal and better indoor coverage.
Xstream AirFiber is a plug-and-play device with built-in WiFi 6 technology, allowing users to simultaneously connect up to 64 devices.
First announced by Reliance Industries (RIL) Chairperson Mukesh Ambani at the 46th RIL annual general meeting in August, this offering aims to connect millions of potential customers without home broadband due to the complexities and delays involved in extending optical fibre to their premises. This is despite Jio’s optical fibre infrastructure currently spanning over 1.5 million kilometres across India, which puts it near over 200 million premises.
According to Airtel’s data, only 34 million homes in India have optical fibre connections, highlighting a large number of customers struggling for fibre access.
“Our extensive fiber-to-the-home service, JioFiber, already serves over 10 million customers, with hundreds of thousands more getting connected each month. But there are still millions of homes and small businesses to be connected at a rapid pace. JioAirFiber will enable millions of homes with world-class digital entertainment, smart home services, and broadband, offering solutions across education, health, surveillance, and smart home,” said Akash Ambani, chairman of Reliance Jio Infocomm.