Delhi-based mid-level broadband service provider Excitel Broadband Pvt. plans to increase its customer base to 10 lakhs in the next six months as it expands its base in over 26 cities across India. The company’s present customer base stands at 8.2 lakh.
“Around half of our customers are in Delhi since that is our home market. However, we have entered cities like Mumbai, Hyderabad, and Bengaluru and hope to take the customer base to 10 lakh in the next six months,” Vivek Raina, co-founder and CEO of Excitel, told BQ Prime.
“Our plan is to increase the customer base to 2 million in one and a half years.”
Excitel’s biggest differentiator has been its ability to provide last-mile connectivity to the unstructured Indian cities where penetration of the top telecom operators has been negligible.
“We see strong potential for high-speed affordable broadband in tier-2 and tier-3 cities as still 75% of urban population, including metros, live in localities with no utility by-lanes or shafts for underground optical fibre,” Raina said.
Other top telecom companies were only covering 25% of Delhi till one and a half years ago. They chased higher average revenue per user when Excitel decided to build its own fiber-to-home infrastructure at affordable prices in hard-to-reach localities, he said.
“We started in 2015 with a minimum broadband speed of 20 megabits per second, while the popular offers by telcos were 1-2 mbps at triple our price,” Raina said.
“Our ARPU is Rs 500 for 200 Mbps at present, as compared to Rs 800 for big telecom players.
In the last five years, Excitel’s customer base has increased to 4.5 lakh in Delhi, second only to Airtel.
“As we grow into Mumbai and cities around Delhi NCR and the state capitals of UP, Bihar, Rajasthan, and in South India, we are utilising money from our latest investment round of Rs 100 crore that will take our customer base to 1 million. Then, for the next one million customers, we will again need to raise funds.
Excitel’s business in big cities is profitable and stable, especially in Delhi, Kanpur, and Lucknow. But new additions like Mumbai are still guzzling cash.
“It’s been six months in Mumbai, and it is expected to take two years to stabilise. The intent right now is to reinvest all the profits for expansion, and that is what we are doing,” Raina said. Bloomberg