By Jayraj Patel
Indiaís largest telco, Bharti Airtel signed a deal with Amazon India earlier this week that enables it to push the global e-commerce giantís content to its post-paid customers by providing them with one-year amazon prime subscriptions for free.
An ever-growing Indian market for smartphones
The Indian smartphone market has had a transformational run in the last few years as the Indian customers have matured and the technological advancements have allowed smartphones to expand into all domains making it possible for a customer to do almost anything on their phones, including the possibility of being their personal entertainment device. As the young population has started shifting from mainstream television to online content providers, telecom companies in India have started acquiring media and content companies that may complement their services.
Customers are no longer focused on simple plans that focus on minutes and messages but data plans and other entertainment services that were previously unavailable. Ambani led Reliance Jio is responsible for transforming the market after its entry in 2015 challenged the price-feature ratio by providing free services to its customers. This forced all telecom operators to decrease prices constantly. Now, customers across India can buy cheaper pre-paid and post-paid plans that offer more features than they did two years ago.
Airtel’s Amazon sponsored boost
Airtel launched ĎWynkí and the Airtel TV app two years ago, both providing music and entertainment services to customers for free in a bid to attract a greater set of customers to remain loyal to the telco. Airtelís new deal with Amazon will provide a significant boost to the content available on Airtel TVís platform as the Amazonís content business has flourished over the past few years and has attracted the Indian audienceís interest in both, home-made and acquired content. Airtelís existing content partners include Eros now, Sony Liv and HOOQ, all providing exclusive Indian movies and television series.
Airtelís deal with Amazon is not limited to content and will provide customers with the complete Prime membership package for free. Amazon Prime’s membership provides several benefits to customers that include faster and cheaper delivery options, access to purchasing Amazon-exclusive items (for instance, ĎOne plus phonesí were only available to Prime members on its platform) and unlimited access to its content platform. The one-year-only membership was priced at ?499 in 2016 (first year) but increased to ?999 this year.
Indian customers and their scope to benefit
Airtel will only offer its post-paid customers who have opted for the Airtel infinity, plans that range from ?499, ?799 and ?1199 per month. Even though the monetary benefit to customers is only ?83 per month, the move seems to be extremely sensible and in-sync with current industry trends, and will surely create a win-win situation for both Airtel and Amazon as one gears up to retain its customer base, while the other attempts to expand it.
The Indian customers have benefitted the most as telcos compete fiercely not only to retain, but also to gain other customers within the Indian market. These perfectly competitive market dynamics must be retained by the government if customers are to enjoy these benefits in the long term, even though these may keep the telcos on their feet forcing them to search for other sources of revenue.
Featured Image Credits: Flickr
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