With the onset of 4G services — the country’s top three players, Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular, have already launched their 4G services — operators are cutting deals with content providers for movies, music and games to retain their subscribers, as Reliance Jio braces to enter the market by April-May.
Apart from free download of movies and songs through their apps, the three operators are also providing tariff packages that bundle data and voice. Plus, unlike when 3G services were launched some four years back, subscribers do not have to pay anything extra for upgrading to 4G services.
The three operators are offering double data for the same price. For instance, Bharti’s Infinity Plans at R999 offers unlimited local voice calls on Airtel-to-Airtel network, along with 3GB data benefits and access to Wynk Movies and Wynk Music. This gets scaled up to R1,999 wherein 7GB of data comes with unlimited local, STD calls, and free roaming services coupled with unlimited Wynk songs and movies. While the former plan would suit the low arpu (average revenue per user) customers, the latter fits the needs of high arpu ones.
On the handset front, Bharti and Idea Cellular have tied up with Samsung Electronics India to promote their 4G services. In addition to launching its own devices, Idea Cellular has also forged partnerships with Intex Technologies, Lava, Lenovo and Xolo to offer bundled 4G data plans on smartphones.
The operators are targeting consumers with music and movie apps, as 59% of India’s 209 million active mobile internet users in urban areas prefer smartphones as a device for entertainment, as per a joint report by Internet and Mobile Association of India, and IMRB, a market research agency. Entertainment is the primary use of internet in rural India, with 44% of the users preferring mobile phone as a first choice to consume videos to music, the report said.