Enterprise is new big business for telecom firms

Among those who are active in the space, the Tata group and Airtel both have a greater focus toward larger enterprises, with the former not present in the MSME space at all.

Published: 13th March 2021 11:24 PM  |   Last Updated: 14th March 2021 09:58 AM   |  A+A-

mobile tower, signal, telecom

For representational purposes

Express News Service

NEW DELHI:  The past few years have seen India’s telecom sector act as the stage for a high-intensity tussle for dominance one that has whittled down the number of competitors from nearly a dozen to less than a handful.

But this battle has been largely confined to the more consumer-focused segments starting off with Jio’s entry into mobile services in 2016, and spreading over to the direct-to-home (DTH) and hi-speed home broadband segments over the next few years.  

The enterprise segment—services provided to businesses—has remained largely untouched, though. 

At least, until last week. On Tuesday, Jio’s enterprise arm JioBusiness launched seven new tariff plans offering integrated services for micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSME), with the cheapest starting at `901 per month. 

The enterprise segment for India’s telecom sector has remained largely underserved and few telecom service providers have seen any significant revenue coming from it (industry sources say it contributes around 10% of revenue to TSPs, compared to around a quarter in developed nations).

Among those who are active in the space, the Tata group and Airtel both have a greater focus toward larger enterprises, with the former not present in the MSME space at all.  

But MSMEs are rapidly growing into potentially lucrative customers as they move closer to the digital ecosystem, a trend that has only been accelerated by the pandemic and accompanying lockdowns last year.

While, Airtel has also been ramping up focus in the space, analysts believe that Jio could use the underpenetrated nature of the market and the current shift towards digital to gain significant revenues. 

According to Bank of America Securities, Jio’s packages are likely to address around 15-20 million MSMEs out of the over 50 million MSMEs in the market.

“Integrated ready-to-use offerings, assisted sales and on-boarding, and digital account management could enable Jio to aggressively gain MSME subscribers, like they did in mobility and home broadband segments,” UBS analysts wrote in a note.

Jio, they added, could potentially add around 7.5 million high-paying subscribers to its tally, including 3 million MSME fiber users with an average revenue per user (ARPU) in the range of Rs 1,100-1,200 per month. 


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