Representational image of a television streaming player menu screen featuring Netflix, Amazon
Representational image of a television streaming player menu screen featuring Netflix, Amazon | Photo: Patrick T. Fallon| Bloomberg
Text Size:

New Delhi: India’s telecom price war is back, and this time the battle is being fought with freebies.

After announcing the first tariff increase in three years in 2019, telecom carriers are offering incentives such as subscriptions to services from Netflix to Amazon Prime to win customers in a content-hungry market.

With theaters in India, among the biggest film markets globally by number of tickets sold, closed due to pandemic restrictions, the demand for entertainment content has shifted online. Several big-budget local films have been released on streaming platforms this year.

On Tuesday, Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd., the country’s biggest telecom company by subscribers, launched a new 399-rupee ($5.4) plan for users who opt for monthly billing instead of pay-as-you-go packs. Besides 75 gigabytes of data, customers would get access to Netflix on a mobile device and one-year subscription to two over-the-top applications and access to Jio’s movie and songs library.

“Reliance Jio’s new postpaid plans offer more content and come at 20% discount” to Bharti Airtel Ltd., analysts at Jefferies India Pvt. said in a report to clients. Bharti’s comparable entry-level plan is priced at 499 rupees and offers the same amount of data but doesn’t include access to Disney+ Hotstar and Netflix, while Vodafone Idea Ltd.’s plan offers 40GB data and doesn’t include any of the three online platforms, according to analysts.

Over the past four years, the number of users opting for monthly billing of mobile services has come down sharply and such users now form about 5% of the total 1.14 billion subscribers and generate 15% of the sector’s revenue, according to Jefferies analysts.

Although Jio introduced its postpaid plans in 2018, the company’s offerings didn’t see much traction, showcasing ‘stickiness’ of this base of customers, according to Morgan Stanley analysts.

“This time extremely aggressive content offerings could be the key attraction for consumers,” Emkay Global Financial Services Ltd. analysts Naval Seth and Sonali Shah said in a note. They expect Bharti and Vodafone Idea to follow Jio with similar tie-ups with OTT platforms to retain the monthly bill paying customers whose average monthly spending is higher than the prepaid users.

Bharti Airtel has lost nearly 9%, while Vodafone Idea has fallen 12.7% in two sessions since Jio announced the enhanced postpaid plans.- Bloomberg


Also read: Netflix, Hotstar opt for self-regulation in India to ward off criticism


 

Subscribe to our channels on YouTube & Telegram

Why news media is in crisis & How you can fix it

India needs free, fair, non-hyphenated and questioning journalism even more as it faces multiple crises.

But the news media is in a crisis of its own. There have been brutal layoffs and pay-cuts. The best of journalism is shrinking, yielding to crude prime-time spectacle.

ThePrint has the finest young reporters, columnists and editors working for it. Sustaining journalism of this quality needs smart and thinking people like you to pay for it. Whether you live in India or overseas, you can do it here.

Support Our Journalism

Share Your Views

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here