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Airtel Launches Wynk

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India’s largest mobile service provider Bharti Airtel has launched Wynk — a music application. That makes it the first Indian telecom operator to offer an Over the Top (OTT) mobile application in India. What this means is that for the first time, Airtel will be offering a service to users of all networks.

This move ensures that it can keep up with the competition and ensure a steady rise in data revenues. The app that is available on the Android and iOS platforms, offers 1.7 million songs in eight languages — Hindi, English, Tamil, Telugu, Bengali, Kannada, Punjabi and Bhojpuri. The advertisement free app runs primarily on subscription revenues. It will compete with Saavn (South Asian Audio Video Network) and Times Internet’s Gaana. It has priced its offerings at rates lower than both these applications.

Wynk is available in three versions—free, Wynk Plus and Wynk Freedom. In the free version, users can stream songs of their choice online and listen to internet radio. With Wynk Plus, they can enjoy unlimited in-app song downloads and play music offline at Rs. 99 on Android and Rs. 60 on iOS. Airtel customers using Android phones can enjoy a special introductory price of just Rs. 29 on this. Wynk Freedom at Rs. 129 is available to Airtel customers in 3G circles using Android phones. That gives them unlimited streaming and download of music without incurring additional data charges.

The move is the first bid by an operator to get back revenue that they are losing to OTT operators. Already, operators are losing to social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Now for the first time an operator is looking to make the most of data that is travelling on its pipes. Says Srinivasan Gopalan, Director, Consumer Business, Bharti Airtel: “With the rise of smartphones in India, mobile phones have emerged as the most preferred platform to experience music on the go and accounts for almost 85-90 per cent of total digital consumption."

The target consumers for Wynk are largely the youth. While data revenues are expected to rise, much of that could be while users are on a wifi network, reducing the data earnings of operators substantially. Airtel is banking on the rising demand for smartphones in the country.

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