Airtel’s DTH arm, Airtel Digital TV, plans to make a full switch to India-made set-top boxes, including the premium Airtel Xstream 4K Android TV box, by the end of 2021. The Airtel Xstream Android 4K TV box enables customers to access linear television. and OTT content.
The company has already started supplying locally manufactured devices to its customers.
The latest development is in line with the strategy of the telecom operator led by Sunil Mittal to source locally all telecom equipment, networks and STB devices.
Airtel, however, previously manufactured its non-smart set-top boxes in Pune (Ranjangaon) through MyBox Tech, a subsidiary of Hero Electronix, and ST Microelectronics. However, the phone company halted production in India and began importing devices from countries like Vietnam and Thailand to take advantage of the tax benefits of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA).
The Indian electronics manufacturing ecosystem has developed capacity locally and companies can now have better control of product quality, which has enabled Airtel to repatriate production to India. “We are very satisfied with the level of quality of the products our partners have provided,” Sunil Taldar, CEO – DTH, Bharti Airtel told ET.
“This is a major milestone in Airtel Digital TV’s growth journey and a sign of the rapid growth of India’s manufacturing capabilities. The supply chain disruptions induced by COVID-19 have further accelerated our efforts to make our supply chain more dependent on India, ”he added.
Bharti Enterprises Ltd and local subcontractor Dixon recently signed an agreement to form a Joint Venture (JV) to manufacture telecommunications and network products such as modems, routers, set-top boxes and Internet of Things (IoT) devices. for the telecommunications sector. Dixon has filed the necessary applications with the Ministry of Communications to avail the benefits of the government production incentive program of 12,195 crore rupees (PLI). Airtel has also asked its partners Nokia and Ericsson to supply only locally produced 4G and 5G equipment. . For 5G, the phone company is currently working with Tata Sons / Tata Consultancy Services (TCS). The two companies will begin testing the locally developed 5G stack early next year and deploy locally made equipment, Airtel said.
Airtel Digital TV, which had 18 million customers at the end of June 2021, offers Standard and High Definition (HD) TV services with 667 channels including 86 HD channels, 60 Airtel internal services, 6 international channels and 4 interactive services including Edutech.