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Content-driven: Operators move beyond vanilla voice and data services

September 21, 2016
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While improved network coverage remains the key driver for a surge in the uptake of 3G and 4G services in India, this data growth can largely be attributed to the emergence of a number of digital content-based entertainment services like video and audio. The devices used to access digital content have also evolved technologically, providing a variety of platforms for customers to stream audio and video content.

Telecom operators have been engaged in a battle to capture a major slice of the customer base, following the growing opportunities enabled by technological advancements and increasing awareness among the public. Operators have enhanced their service offerings to include a plethora of content-based applications, in addition to the traditional vanilla data and voice packs. These content-driven value-added services have, in fact, become the key differentiators for operators to gain an edge over their competitors, especially in the wake of the entry of over-the-top players.

In a bid to strengthen and increase their market share, telecom operators have been adopting innovative content-based strategies. Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India, Reliance Communications (RCOM), Aircel and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL) have recently announced various content-based services/applications, which allow users to download videos and music either free of charge or at a minimal cost. Users can also access various television shows and movies on their smartphones. Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited (RJIL) is also betting big on content to drive service uptake. It has announced a variety of applications even before its commercial launch. These applications will be available on both the Android and iOS platforms to attract consumers from rival players.

Going forward, user response to these content-based services will be instrumental in building customer loyalty.

tele.net takes a look at the recently announced content-based offerings of major telecom operators in the country…

Vodafone India

Vodafone recently launched a new package, called Vodafone U, in all circles across the country. Aside from services such as internet and calling, Vodafone U subscribers can access an exclusive application to download music. They can get free music of any genre for 60 days from the Vodafone music library, which has over 5,000 music videos, at no extra cost. The Vodafone U application also allows users to share their downloaded music with their friends. The pack comes with separate 3G and 4G data limits for surfing during the day and at night. It also allows consumers to avail of a data loan of 60 MB for two days in case the allotted data is exhausted.

Further, users can access the Million Fun Experiences offering, which allows them  to have fun experiences along with their friends. Under this, users can also avail of special discount coupons and other offers like buy-one-get-one-free, which can be used at outlets like Café Coffee Day and Mad Over Donuts, besides offers on Amazon online.  Subscribers can also participate in contests to win an opportunity to attend events like the Tomatina festival in Spain with friends.

Bharti Airtel

Bharti Airtel has launched its new applications called Wynk Music and Wynk Movies, as a part of its content-based offerings. Wynk Music is a  music streaming application, which currently plays over 15 million songs in a day. It has a collection of over 500 music labels in 12 languages and curated playlists across genres for a wonderful in-app experience. The “data save” mode with 2G optimisation helps users stream Wynk Music seamlessly on a 2G network and allows them to save up to 70 per cent data. It also provides a local MP3 player that helps users  play songs through the application on their devices.

The Wynk Movies application, provides access to a huge library comprising thousands of videos and movies, both from Bollywood and Hollywood, including  all genres like comedy, drama, action and thrillers. Airtel has tied up with five partners, namely Eros Now, Hooq, Sony LIV, YouTube and Dailymotion, to provide content for the service. Further, videos can be streamed as well as downloaded for offline viewing. Besides, Airtel is offering six months of unlimited music streaming and downloads on Wynk Music and five free movies per month for six months on the Eros Now channel of Wynk Movies.

Recently, Airtel has launched exclusive products and services in Tamil Nadu for the movie Kabali, including special recharge packs with unlimited 2G internet, Kabali hello tunes and branded SIM cards. Further, the operator has introduced a “Happy Hours” service for its prepaid users, wherein subscribers have to choose the “Smart Offline” option on YouTube for a particular video and select “Save Overnight” to automatically save the video between 3 a.m. and 5 a.m. Under the service, 50 per cent of the data is credited back to customers for using the internet between 3 a.m. and 5 a.m.

Aircel India

Aircel India has collaborated with digital content provider Hungama to offer unlimited music at Rs 2 per day. Users can avail of the Hungama Pro application free of cost for two months, after which they will have to pay only Rs 120 per month. Earlier, Aircel had tied up with Hungama to launch a social and on-demand music service called Music Connect.

The telecom operator has also introduced Aircel Mobile Radio, an interactive voice recognition service in Tier II and Tier III cities, which allows customers to enjoy songs free of cost, without any subscription charges. The service is powered by Techzone and enables customers to select songs of their choice from different genres and in various regional languages. Recently, Aircel launched a new data plus voice plan called Combo 123 that offers free song and video downloads from an exclusive portal at night. As an  additional benefit, it offers unlimited local Aircel to Aircel calling and unlimited data.

Mahanagar Telephone Limited

State-run telecom operator, Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL), has collaborated with Hungama, a digital entertainment provider, to offer on-demand entertainment services to its subscribers. As per the agreement, Hungama’s content comprising over 3 million offerings including films, a music library with Indian and international songs, and also games will be available for MTNL broadband subscribers in Mumbai and Delhi at mtnl.hungama.com. Besides, users can also avail of various other entertainment packages.

Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited

In March 2016, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) has signed an agreement with direct-to-home operator Tata Sky to offer video-on-demand service. Through this agreement, BSNL is expected to gain additional broadband customers. As an initial incentive, BSNL provided free broadband services to customers for the first month. Meanwhile, Tata Sky also offered free video-on-demand services for the first month to download content worth up to Rs 500.

RCOM

RCOM recently launched a new content-bundled data plan called MoviNet that offers unlimited access to music, movies and the internet. Under the plan, users get free subscription to the Entertainment-on-Demand library of Hungama Play, which comprises 8,000 movies. In addition, subscribers can avail of the Any-Use Data service. The MoviNet plan blends data and content seamlessly and provides an easy interface, along with a maximum entertainment quotient. This pack was reportedly launched to bridge the gap between data and content.

RJIL

RJIL has announced a number of applications to build its customer base before its commercial launch in the country. These include applications like JioPlay, JioOnDemand, JioBeats and JioMags. The JioPlay application will allow instant access to television programmes. Consumers will be able to access around 300 television channels, including over 30 high definition channels across various languages and genres. JioOnDemand is a one-stop platform for music videos, trailers as well as Bollywood, Hollywood and regional movies. Users will be able to stream their favourite movies in high definition across devices with no advertisements, no buffering and with adaptive video streaming. The JioBeats application will offer a variety of high definition songs across various genres in over 20 languages. It will allow users to enjoy music seamlessly with connected device support, such as wearable devices and Bluetooth speakers. JioMags will provide a vast library of premium and popular magazines, including magazines in regional languages. Users will have the option to choose their favourite magazines and filter them by interest, using an effective search feature. These applications will be made available on both the iOS and Android platforms to capture a wider users base.

 
 
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