Airtel offers Amazon Prime to prepaid users to beat Reliance Jio, Vodafone Idea

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Updated: May 3, 2019 6:57:40 AM

Though Bharti has been good at catching up, Jio is still far ahead in terms of cinema and TV subscribers with its Jio cinema and TV together having a user base of around 150 million.

The company launched a new prepaid bundle at `299 to offer 28 days of Amazon Prime membership along with 2.5 GB data per day, unlimited calls to any network and 100 SMSes daily.

The battle for content among mobile operators promises to get fiercer in the days to come, and once again, the ultimate beneficiaries would be the consumers — in fact to be precise, the low-end, prepaid consumers.
Though operators such as Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea provide access to OTT platforms like Zee5, SonyLiv, Hooq, Hungama or Shemaroo through their TV apps like Airtel TV, Jio TV, or Vodafone Play (depending on the tie-ups) to prepaid as well as postpaid users; aspirational brands like Netflix and Amazon Prime are limited to postpaid users with above `399 monthly plans.

While Netflix is available only on Airtel network, Amazon Prime is available both on Airtel and Vodafone Idea.

Both Netflix and Amazon Prime are today offered without any subscription charge and the users only have to pay for data usage.

However, on Thursday Bharti Airtel went a step further and extended the reach of Amazon Prime to even a section of its prepaid users.

The company launched a new prepaid bundle at `299 to offer 28 days of Amazon Prime membership along with 2.5 GB data per day, unlimited calls to any network and 100 SMSes daily.
Analysts said in the days to come, Vodafone Idea which already has a tie-up with Amazon Prime may also look at extending the reach to a section of prepaid users because it has the potential to increase the average revenue per user (Arpu).

Jio is also sure to get aggressive and try to enter into similar pacts with either Netflix or Amazon Prime because the January-March quarter saw its monthly data usage per customer stagnate on a sequential basis at 10.9 GB.
As is known, when it comes to content among mobile operators, Reliance Jio is the undoubted numero uno. However, in the last more than a year Bharti Airtel has played the catch-up game well and seems to be snapping at Jio’s heels.

Jio and Airtel offer the same number of live TV channels on their respective apps — Jio TV and Airtel TV. Star Network, Sony Network, and Zee Network are available on both but Viacom is available only on Jio.
However, when it comes to OTT platforms, Bharti scores, as of the eight popular ones, six are available on Airtel TV while only four are on Jio TV. Sony Liv and Hooq are not available on Jio but are on Airtel. In addition, Airtel has tie-ups with Netflix and Amazon Prime which Jio cannot boast of.

However, if the overall count of TV channels and movies available are taken into account, Jio retains its lead over Airtel. The former has 580 TV channels and 110 HD channels. Airtel has 375 live TV channels. On movie channels, though, Airtel has recently raced past Jio by having a library of 10,000 movies compared to 6,000 movies on offer on Jio.

Analysts said in the last year Bharti has focused big time on developing content partnerships and this reflects in its data traffic and rise in data subscribers. Average monthly data usage at Bharti is now at around 10.5GB, almost same as that of Jio.

“We believe competition in the mobile space is set to move beyond tariffs and adding new use cases for data like content will become increasingly important to boost both data adoption and usage which in turn will drive Arpu for telcos,” brokerage firm CLSA had observed in one of its reports sometime back.

The content partnerships forged by Bharti have also helped its video OTT platform gain 90 million subscribers against 66 million a year back and its music app Wynk is now the top music app in the country by notching up a subscriber base of 120 million. Jio is still to catch up on music and has acquired a stake in music app Saavn so this space will see competitive times.

Though Bharti has been good at catching up, Jio is still far ahead in terms of cinema and TV subscribers with its Jio cinema and TV together having a user base of around 150 million.

“Bharti, post its investments in 4G network, got aggressive on the content story. Currently, Bharti is acting as an aggregator of content (similar to Jio) and almost offers similar content as Jio,” Bank of America Merrill Lynch had observed in one of its recent reports.

Whatever be the case, it is clear that consumers are set to get more and more for almost the same price as far as content is concerned, as mobile operators compete against one another and OTT players look at reaching almost 500 million smartphone users through them.

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