Jio is now following Airtel and Vi (formerly Vodafone Idea) in bundling subscriptions to its postpaid wireless plans. The company has announced a slate of new plans — available starting September 24 — ranging from ₹399 to ₹1,499. The plans have Netflix, Disney+ Hotstar VIP and Amazon Prime Video bundled, in addition to Jio’s own content apps like JioCinema and JioSaavn. It’s not clear what tier of the Netflix app is bundled, but it’s likely to be the Rs 199 mobile plan, considering that even the ₹399 plan offers Netflix.
In addition to bundling these services, Jio is adopting a postpaid marketing technique that Airtel and Vi have had for a while — data rollover. Like on those other carriers, Jio plans will now allow users to carry forward up to 200GB in unused data forward into the next billing cycle. Before this, Jio had just one postpaid plan with 25GB data and no rollover — these postpaid plans represent a significant change for customers accustomed to a daily data cap (which is the norm for Jio’s prepaid plans). The costlier postpaid plans also include “unlimited data” in the US and UAE, but since these plans are listed as “Coming Soon”, the terms and conditions are still unclear.
With these bundling arrangements, Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, Zee5, and Hotstar have found a new growth hack to get subscription numbers up — but unlike telecom operators, who intend to steadily increase their tariffs in the coming months, streaming services will have to deal with lower ARPUs, as they will likely have to settle on receiving less per subscriber enrolled from a telecom operator, while also paying the telco a distribution fee. Jio recently announced such bundling for its broadband users, and with JioPostpaidPlus, it seems that telcos as well as ISPs are now looking at content providers as essential partners.