Amazon Prime has witnessed a two-fold increase in its subscriber count in the past 18 months, according Amazon Prime’s India head Akshay Sahi, reports The Times of India. He added that a record number of customers joined the service in the past year, including a significant number from non-metro markets, and said there were Prime subscribers in 400 towns and cities. Amazon declined to reveal the current subscription figures for Prime in India, the report said. In an annual letter to shareholders last year, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos had said that as of 2017, Prime had more than 100 million global subscribers. He added that Amazon had shipped more than five billion items with Prime worldwide in 2018, and more new members joined Prime that year than in any previous year.

Tie-ups with telecom operators behind subscriber growth

A major driver of Prime’s growth in subscribers is Amazon’s partnerships with major telecom operators in the country, the ET report said, citing industry executes. Through these tie-ups, customers can pay for Prime via carrier billing – that is, through their through their prepaid phone balance or monthly phone bill:

  • In May this year, we reported that BSNL subscribers could pay for Amazon Prime memberships with their mobile bill or pre-paid balance as part of a carrier billing deal between the two companies. BSNL’s carrier billing deal is backed by mobile technology company Fortumo’s Trident Bundling Platform.
  • In 2018, Airtel started bundling a one-year Amazon Prime subscription free with several of its postpaid plans. The free subscription comes with almost all of Airtel’s postpaid plans of Rs 649, Rs 799, and Rs 1199.
  • A year before that, Amazon Prime Video was offered to Vodafone customers for a discounted subscription price of Rs 249. This included a cash-back of Rs 250 to a users Amazon Pay Balance after paying a price of Rs 499 during sign up.