Amazon Prime targets India’s mobile phone users – with help from Airtel

Amazon Prime targets India’s mobile phone users – with help from Airtel

For the second time this week comes news of an offering of streamed film entertainment aimed at a mobile-centric market. This time the market is India.

Amazon has signed a deal with Indian operator Bharti Airtel to launch what is described as the world's first mobile-only Amazon Prime video plan. Prices kick off at 89 rupees (about $1.22) for a single-user plan, providing SD-quality streaming.

The move has come in the wake of strong growth of Prime subscribers in India, a country that, not surprisingly, has a very high number of mobile-first internet users and, according to local press reports, the highest number of consumers using mobile devices for streaming content. It is also one of Amazon’s fastest-growing territories in the world.

Amazon will offer a 30-day free trial of the service, following which users will have an option to select from four different plans with prices ranging from 89 rupees to 349 rupees ($4.77) for every 28 days. The plans will be bundled with the operator’s voice and data service, offering Prime Video alongside various amounts of data and (usually unlimited) voice minutes.

The Amazon Prime price undercuts a major competitor, Netflix, whose mobile-only monthly plan in India is priced at 199 rupees ($2.72). However, unlike Netflix, which is offering the plans on its own, Amazon has partnered with Bharti Airtel to launch what it calls its Prime Video Mobile Edition (PVME) plans.

Initially, these plans will be available only to prepaid users, through an app or at recharge points across the country.

This offer follows the announcement we reported yesterday from Molotov, an OTT distribution platform that is making a major push into French-speaking Africa, again with a focus on mobile phones.

Streaming is an important market across both Africa and India, but in both regions there is a need to optimise the service for mobile phones, which are often the main medium for both the internet and streaming. Pricing the offering in a way that attracts consumers but also offers a return on investment is another important consideration, making both Africa and India tricky markets in which to succeed.

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