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Amazon Prime launches mobile-only plan with Airtel

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NEW DELHI: Amazon on Wednesday announced its first mobile-only Prime Video plan at a starting price of Rs 89 per month as it looks to woo entertainment-hungry smartphone users in the country.
The single-user plan will initially be available for Bharti Airtel‘s prepaid users, the company said.
After a 30-day free trial, the Rs 89 for 28-day plan will come with 6 gigabytes of data.
The introduction of the mobile-only plans in India is a global first for the company that competes against players like Netflix, Disney+Hotstar and Zee5, among others.
“India is one of our fastest growing markets globally with very high engagement rates. Buoyed by this response, we want to double-down on our efforts and reach out to an even larger audience. Powered by affordable data, smartphones have become the preferred screen for entertainment in India,” Amazon Prime Video India director and country general manager Gaurav Gandhi said.
He, however, declined to comment on the number of subscribers of Amazon Prime Video in India.
Amazon Prime Video rival, Netflix introduced a similar mobile-only subscription plan in India for Rs 199 last year.
Bringing in mobile-only plans helps content streaming platforms tap into larger audiences, especially in smaller towns and those consuming content on the go.
Prime Video Mobile Edition is a single-user mobile-only plan, providing SD (standard definition) quality streaming to customers which is created especially for a mobile-first country like India, Gandhi said.
As part of the Prime Video Mobile Edition launch in India, all Airtel customers on bundled prepaid packs can avail a 30-day free trial by signing up to Amazon from the Airtel Thanks app using their mobile number.
After the 30 day-free trial, Airtel customers can access Prime Video Mobile Edition through prepaid recharges starting at Rs 89 for 28-day access to the service along with 6GB data.
Customers who want features like multi-user access, streaming across devices including smart TVs and HD/UHD content along with access to Prime benefits like Prime Music and free fast delivery on Amazon.in can recharge with a 30-day Amazon Prime membership at Rs 131 or recharge with a Rs 349 pack of 28-day validity.
The recharges will be available on the Airtel Thanks app and over a million recharge points across the country.
“Over the last four years, Prime Video has become the country’s most loved premium streaming service with viewership coming from over 4,300 towns and cities. We believe that the Mobile Edition plan will further accelerate Prime Video’s adoption in India,” Gandhi said.
Amazon Prime Video will continue to be available as part of Amazon’s Prime offering that is available for Rs 999 annually or Rs 129 a month.
Over the top (OTT) players like Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney+Hotstar have seen massive growth in the past few years on the back of cheap data tariffs and availability of affordable smartphones. The adoption of these digital platforms was further accelerated during the pandemic amid restricted social activities like visits to movie theatres.
“At Airtel, we are deeply passionate about delivering a differentiated experience to our customers through our Airtel Thanks program. We are happy to partner with Amazon to democratize quality digital entertainment in India by leveraging Airtel’s core strengths of quality customers, deep distribution and best-in-class network for video,” Bharti Airtel chief marketing officer Shashwat Sharma said.

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Chinese smartphone brands expanded India market share in 2020: Report

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BENGALURU: Chinese smartphone brands increased their market share in India in 2020, a year marked by deadly border clashes between the Asian neighbours and backlash against Chinese firms in India, research firm Counterpoint said on Wednesday.
Chinese brands commanded 75% of India’s smartphone market last year, up from 71% in 2019 and the highest since at least 2014.
Xiaomi Corp remained India’s top smartphone seller in 2020, with a 26% market share, albeit slightly less than its 27% share a year earlier. South Korea’s Samsung Electronics was the No. 2 brand with a 21% share.
India’s next biggest phone brands were Vivo, Realme and Oppo – all Chinese – data from Counterpoint showed.
“The anti-China sentiments largely subsided by the end of the year,” analyst Shilpi Jain said in Counterpoint’s report.
A skirmish between India and China at a disputed Himalayan border site left 20 Indian soldiers dead last June, fueling a wave of anti-China sentiment in the country.
Amid the backlash, Vivo dropped out of the title sponsorship of the widely followed Indian Premier League cricket tournament last year, even though it had secured sponsorship rights from 2018 through 2022.
The anti-China sentiment also spurred some Chinese firms to showcase their Indian-ness. Xiaomi’s India website still features a “Made in India” banner on its home page that was introduced last year.
Meanwhile, overall smartphone shipments in India reached more than 150 million units in 2020, falling 4% from a year earlier.
Demand picked up in the final quarter of 2020 during the festive season that culminated with Diwali in November, Counterpoint said.
“Multiple new use cases such as online education, as well as increased content consumption, were the major factors for the high consumer demand,” Counterpoint analyst Prachir Singh said.
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30 flights between India, UK to continue till Feb 14

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NEW DELHI: Indian and British carriers will continue operating 30 flights weekly till February 14, 2021. The government had earlier this year cleared partial resumption of flights to and from the UK from January 8 by allowing Indian carriers 15 weekly flights and a similar permission was given to UK carriers, till January 23, later extended to this month-end. The decision has been taken on the basis of the situation of the new and more infectious strain of Coronavirus in the UK.
“The frequency, 15 weekly by Indian and as many by British carriers, will remain till 11.59 pm (India time) of February 14, 2021. The other terms and conditions remain unchanged The current approval is up to January 30,” said a senior DGCA official.
India had suspended flights to and from the UK on December 23, 2020. At that time, 67 flights per week were operated by four airlines — British Airways (29), Air India (23), Virgin Atlantic (8) and Vistara (7) — between London and 10 Indian cities including Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Goa, Amritsar and Kochi under an air bubble agreement. Before December 23, 2020, almost 2,000-2,500 passenger used to fly to India daily from the UK on the 67 weekly flights (66 from London Heathrow and one from Birmingham).
Flights were allowed to partially resume on January 8, 2021, and to ensure following of stricter Covid testing norms only 30 weekly flights were initially allowed to and from the four metros of Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad. The health ministry had issued very strict norms to minimise the chances of the more infectious UK strain from spreading in India.
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FDI into India up 37% to $43.85 billion during April-November 2020

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NEW DELHI: Foreign direct investment (FDI) into India increased by 37 per cent to $43.85 billion during April-November 2020, according to data by the commerce and industry ministry.
Total FDI inflows (including reinvested earnings) during the eight-month period of the current fiscal grew by 22 per cent to $58.37 billion, the ministry said on Wednesday.
“FDI equity inflow received during 2020-21 (April to November, 2020) is $43.85 billion. It is the highest ever for the first 8 months of a financial year and 37 per cent more compared to the first 8 months of 2019-20 ($32.11 billion),” it said.
It added that FDI is a major driver of economic growth and an important source of non-debt finance for the economic development of India.
“Measures taken by the government on the fronts of FDI policy reforms, investment facilitation and ease of doing business have resulted in increased FDI inflows into the country,” it said.
Commenting on the figures, Mahesh Singhi, founder and MD, Singhi Advisors, said the global investor community has placed great faith and confidence in India and the robust fundamentals of its economy.
“The phenomenal increase in investment inflows into the country reiterates the government’s firm commitment to initiate investor-friendly FDI policy reforms, obliterate policy bottlenecks and position India as a global investment hub for foreign investors,” he said.
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