Hathway Cable and Datacom, part of the Reliance Jio network, has started offering India’s cheapest cable TV tariff plans for customers in some parts of Mumbai.
At a price of Rs 100, Jio Hathway is giving practically all the popular channels in India in standard definition, and at 200 rupees per month, in HD.
Jio Hathway has also waived off installation charges and box charges, and the customer has to just pay Rs 600 to get the connection and six months of cable TV service. The price for the HD connection and six-month offer is Rs 1,000.
The SD connection comes with MH Platinum SD pack, while the Rs 200/month offer involves the MH Platinum HD pack. These packs include popular channels from Star India, Zee, Sony, Discovery, UTV and TV19. They also include practically all the sports channels in India.
Given that the regular price of the Platinum SD pack is around 320 per month, the new offer is giving a discount of nearly 70%.
The regular price of the HD pack is around Rs 422, and at 200 per month, the offer involves a discount of more than 50%.
According to industry sources, the packs are being provided for a limited time only. Therefore, customers will likely have to pay the full price once the six month period is over.
Currently, the offer is available in central areas like Ghatkopar and Vidyavihar, but not in South Bombay.
To highlight this offer, Hathway has been writing to housing societies seeking permission to give new connections under the scheme to their members.
It is believed that the move is part of a strategy by Jio Hathway to edge out local players and increase its customer base.
By bringing people in using this offer, Jio Hathway is likely eyeing the opportunity to convert them into fiber customers later.
In this context, Jio recently unveiled ultra-cheap fiber broadband tariffs, with unlimited plans starting at just Rs 399. This is cheaper than traditional Hathway broadband plans, which anyway are likely to be replaced by Jio plans in the coming months. At present, Jio is carrying out back-end integration of the Hathway network with its own network.
Jio Hathway’s decision to come up with such a discounted offer has led to opposition from local cable operators, who see it as a strategy aimed purely at pushing them out of the market by offering cheap prices for a limited time.
Some of them are reported to have complained to broadcasters, pointing out that their channels are being offered at such cheap rates.
Though traditionally, broadcasters do not like their channels to be offered under such schemes, TRAI’s rules make it clear that the distributor can sell the channels at whatever rates they want, as long as it is not above the channel MRP.
Hathway is likely offering these plans as promotional schemes. All operators are allowed to unveil promotional schemes of 3 months duration for up to twice a year.
If smaller cable operators want to protect their customers, they too may have to offer all these channels for 100-200 rupees till the time Jio Hathway continues to have the promotional scheme in place.