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How Will Amazon Prime Members Benefit from Airtel Partnership?

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Feb. 1 2018, Published 9:56 p.m. ET

Amazon partners with India’s Bharti Airtel

Tech giant Amazon.com’s (AMZN) Indian affiliate Amazon.in has recently partnered with India’s largest telecom service provider, Bharti Airtel, to offer Prime services to Airtel subscribers. According to the deal, Amazon plans to provide a free subscription to Prime services to new and existing postpaid Airtel subscribers for one year.

The Amazon Prime subscription priced at 999 rupees can be accessed by the Airtel postpaid customers who use the Infinity Plan of 499 rupees and above. Customers of Airtel V-Fiber broadband can also access the subscription.

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As part of the plan’s benefits, these customers have unlimited access to Amazon Prime Video and to over 11 million Prime-eligible products, exclusive and discounted product offers, while shopping on Amazon.in at no additional cost. The Prime benefits also include unlimited free delivery of eligible items. This offer can only be activated through Airtel’s TV app.

Making space in the Indian market

The partnership with Airtel is expected to help Amazon rapidly penetrate the Indian market, as Airtel has a dominant market share and reach. With Airtel’s reach, Amazon could better understand the needs of the local population.

The company can also bring a variety of shows to its online video library that cater to Indian customers. Airtel had a market share of almost 30% of total mobile subscribers at the end of September 2017 of ~946.7 million, according to the Cellular Operators Association of India.

Amazon is trying to garner a larger share of the market by increasing its footprint in India (EPI). According to data from Statista, Indian retail e-commerce sales are expected to reach ~$52.0 billion by 2022 from $16.0 billion in sales in 2016.

Amazon launched Amazon Prime in India in 2016, and it invested ~$260.0 million in its India business in July 2017. The company faces competition from local companies including Flipkart and Paytm, which is backed by Alibaba (BABA).

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