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Tech

Google Says Banned Chinese Apps Have Been Blocked Temporarily For Now

Google on Thursday said it has temporarily blocked access to those apps that were still available on the Play Store in India even after the government banned on 59 apps this week. “While we continue to review the interim orders from the Government of India, we have notified the affected developers and have temporarily blocked access to the apps that remained available on the Play Store in India,” a Google spokesperson said.

However, the spokesperson did not disclose details of the apps that Google had blocked. According to sources, developers of many of the 59 banned apps had taken down their apps from Google Play Store voluntarily. India on Monday banned 59 apps with Chinese links, including TikTok, UC Browser, SHAREit and WeChat, saying they were prejudicial to sovereignty, integrity and security of the country.


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Tech

With TikTok Banned in India, Is It The Perfect Time to Launch Facebook Lasso & Instagram Reels?

Just a few hours ago, the Government of India issued an order banning as many as 59 Chinese owned smartphone apps in the country. The notification issued by The Ministry of Information Technology of the Government of India derived powers under the section 69A of the Information Technology Act read with the relevant provisions of the Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Blocking of Access of Information by Public) Rules 2009 citing the concerns about the security, integrity and defense of India. The apps that now stand banned in India, across all platforms now include TikTok, Shareit, WeChat, Helo, Likee, UC News, Bigo Live, UC Browser, ES File Explorer and Mi Community. All big names, but one does truly stand out.

But does this open up the door for Facebook to take advantage of the situation and introduce the Facebook Lasso and Instagram Reels products in India. At this time, with TikTok inaccessible, all the creators and influencers on the platform are searching for a viable alternative to ply their trade. And show their creative side. This could be a good time for Facebook to simply bring their TikTok alternatives, because people need to switch. And fast. Never has there been a more ready-made demographic of users, just waiting to sign up.

Facebook Lasso and Instagram Reels, With WhatsApp as the secret ingredient

Facebook Lasso also has similar set of features as TikTok, including the ability to shoot and post 15-second videos. You can overlay these with popular music tracks, filters, effects, hashtags, the ability to directly share to Facebook and more. At this time, Lasso has pretty limited availability around the world, including the US, though it has already seen more than 5,000,000 downloads just on the Google Play Store till now. Facebook, which also owns Instagram, has a similar product for that photo sharing social media platform as well. It is called Instagram Reels and that’s also all about the magic of 15-second videos, dressed up with a variety of music tracks, filters and editing tools. This app also has limited availability right now, including Brazil, Germany and France.

In India, WhatsApp could prove to be the secret ingredient for Lasso or Reels, whichever one Facebook does eventually decide to launch in India. If at all. A simple integration in the most popular instant messaging app could make all the difference in terms of popularizing the new video sharing platform and give it the sort of adoption push that would otherwise be unimaginable.

TikTok’s numbers must have worried Facebook

TikTok, owned by Chinese tech company ByteDance, has climbed the popularity charts rapidly. The ability to showcase creativity and talent in quick 15-second videos had caught the attention of the masses. And that is truer in India than anywhere else in the world. According to data analytics firm App Annie, India accounted for 323 million, which is 44%, of the total 740 million TikTok app downloads in 2019 across all platforms. They also suggest that Indians spent 5.5 billion hours on the TikTok app last year. In fact, at the beginning of this year, it was reported that ByteDance was targeting Rs 100 crore in revenue in India, banking on new quick advert formats for brands as well.

While TikTok’s revenue targets were still no match for Facebook, TikTok’s active user base was proving to be a headache for the world’s largest social media platform, Facebook. According to regulatory filings by Facebook, they clocked Rs 892 crore in revenue in India in 2018-19.

Does TikTok still have a future?

TikTok has confirmed that they have been invited to meet with the Government to respond to the order and submit clarifications. TikTok, a popular social media platform owned by Chinese tech company ByteDance, is on the list of banned apps. At this time, TikTok is also not available for download on the Google Play Store for Android phones and the Apple App Store for the iPhone. “The Government of India has issued an interim order for the blocking of 59 apps, including TikTok and we are in the process of complying with it. We have been invited to meet with concerned government stakeholders for an opportunity to respond and submit clarifications,” says Nikhil Gandhi, Head of TikTok, India, in a statement. The company says they continue to comply with all data privacy and security requirements under Indian law and has not shared any information of our users in India with any foreign government, including the Chinese Government. Gandhi insists that even if they are requested to do so in the future, they would not. “We place the highest importance on user privacy and integrity,” says Gandhi.


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Tech

Banned in India, TikTok to Meet Govt Panel to Present 'Clarification', Says Will Comply With Privacy Needs

Image for representation (Reuters)

Image for representation (Reuters)

The Chinese apps banned in India include TikTok, Shareit, WeChat, Helo, Likee, UC News, Bigo Live, UC Browser, ES File Explorer and Mi Community.

  • News18.com
  • Last Updated: June 30, 2020, 10:47 AM IST

Just a few hours after the Government of India issued an order banning as many as 59 Chinese owned smartphone apps in the country, TikTok has confirmed that they have been invited to meet with the Government to respond to the order and submit clarifications. TikTok, a popular social media platform owned by Chinese tech company ByteDance, is on the list of banned apps. At this time, TikTok is also not available for download on the Google Play Store for Android phones and the Apple App Store for the iPhone.

“The Government of India has issued an interim order for the blocking of 59 apps, including TikTok and we are in the process of complying with it. We have been invited to meet with concerned government stakeholders for an opportunity to respond and submit clarifications,” says Nikhil Gandhi, Head of TikTok, India, in a statement. The company says they continue to comply with all data privacy and security requirements under Indian law and has not shared any information of our users in India with any foreign government, including the Chinese Government. Gandhi insists that even if they are requested to do so in the future, they would not. “We place the highest importance on user privacy and integrity,” says Gandhi.

Late yesterday, India banned as many as 59 popular smartphone apps for Android smartphones as well as the Apple iPhone. The notification issued by The Ministry of Information Technology of the Government of India derived powers under the section 69A of the Information Technology Act read with the relevant provisions of the Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Blocking of Access of Information by Public) Rules 2009 citing the concerns about the security, integrity and defense of India. The apps that now stand banned in India, across the Google Android ecosystem and the Apple iPhone as well as the iPad platforms now include TikTok, Shareit, WeChat, Helo, Likee, UC News, Bigo Live, UC Browser, ES File Explorer and Mi Community.

For the millions of users who may also have these installed on their Android phones and iPhones, there will be checks at the Internet service provider (ISP) and mobile service provider stage to ensure that traffic to and from these apps is blocked on the network, thereby rendering them in-operational. It is expected that all mobile service providers will block these apps on the 3G/4G networks while all broadband companies will enable these filters on wired and wireless broadband options.


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Tech

India Bans 59 Popular Chinese Apps: Status Check On TikTok, Likee, Helo, WeChat, CamScanner & More

Late yesterday, India banned as many as 59 popular smartphone apps for Android smartphones as well as the Apple iPhone. The notification issued by The Ministry of Information Technology of the Government of India derived powers under the section 69A of the Information Technology Act read with the relevant provisions of the Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Blocking of Access of Information by Public) Rules 2009 citing the concerns about the security, integrity and defense of India. The apps that now stand banned in India, across the Google Android ecosystem and the Apple iPhone as well as the iPad platforms now include TikTok, Shareit, WeChat, Helo, Likee, UC News, Bigo Live, UC Browser, ES File Explorer and Mi Community. As we do a status check this morning on some of the popular apps in this list, we notice that some are available on the Google Play Store for Android phones and the App Store for the Apple iPhone, yet some app listings have been removed.

A quick search for the incredibly popular TikTok on the Google Play Store for Android and the Apple App Store for the iPhone doesn’t reveal favorable results for fans and users. The app, developed by Chinese tech company ByteDance, has been taken down, for the time being on the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store. Incidentally, another social media app Helo is also presently unavailable on the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store.

TikTok has been taken down, for the time being on the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store

It is expected that while app listings for all 59 apps on the list issued by the Government of India will be taken down from the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store at some point. For the millions of users who may also have these installed on their Android phones and iPhones, there will be checks at the Internet service provider (ISP) and mobile service provider stage to ensure that traffic to and from these apps is blocked on the network, thereby rendering them in-operational. It is expected that all mobile service providers will block these apps on the 3G/4G networks while all broadband companies will enable these filters on wired and wireless broadband options.

The purge on the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store may take some time though. As of the time of writing this, apps including Likee, Vigo Video, WeChat, CamScanner and UC Browser are still available for download on both Android and iOS platforms.

This announcement on the ban on 59 popular smartphone apps, owned by Chinese tech companies, comes at a time when tensions between India and China are at an all-time high, after the military skirmishes earlier this month. There have been suspicions that the apps developed and or owned by Chinese companies and developers collect user data from their phones without their permissions and transmit it back to the owners.

or the millions of users who may also have these installed on their Android phones and iPhones, there will be checks at the Internet service provider (ISP) and mobile service provider stage to ensure that traffic to and from these apps is blocked on the network

“The Ministry of Information Technology has received many complaints from various sources including several reports about misuse of some mobile apps available on Android and iOS platforms for stealing and surreptitiously transmitting users’ data in an unauthorized manner to servers which have locations outside India. The compilation of these data, its mining and profiling by elements hostile to national security and defence of India, which ultimately impinges upon the sovereignty and integrity of India, is a matter of very deep and immediate concern which requires emergency measures,” says the Ministry of Electronics and IT in an official statement.

This move could also have a cascading effect, as more countries could end up banning these apps in the coming days. There has been a global conversation over the past few months about the possible backdoors in Chinese company Huawei’s 5G mobile network infrastructure allowing the company or even the Chinese government to snoop in on user data. Many countries have either banned Huawei’s 5G network hardware altogether or are reluctant to use it.

This ban on popular Chinese-owned apps, including social networks such as TikTok, could have a longer-term impact on the company valuations as well, after a large chunk of their user base has been effectively shut out. At this time, it is not clear how long the ban will be in place but there are multiple recommendations in place on how to block these potentially malicious apps from being used on internet networks within India.

This announcement on the ban on 59 popular smartphone apps, owned by Chinese tech companies, comes at a time when tensions between India and China are at an all-time high


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Tech

TikTok, Shareit, UC Browser and 56 Other Chinese Apps Banned by India over National Security Concerns

India on Monday banned 59 apps with Chinese links, including hugely popular TikTok and UC Browser, saying they were prejudicial to sovereignty, integrity and security of the country.

The ban, which comes in the backdrop of current stand-off along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh with Chinese troops, also includes WeChat and Bigo Live.

The list of apps that have been banned also include Helo, Likee, Cam Scanner, Vigo Video, Mi Video Call, Xiaomi, Clash of Kings as well as e-commerce platforms Club Factory and Shein. This marks the largest sweep against the Chinese technology companies.

The Information Technology Ministry in a statement said it has received many complaints from various sources, including several reports about misuse of some mobile apps available on Android and iOS platforms for “stealing and surreptitiously transmitting users’ data in an unauthorised manner to servers which have locations outside India”.

“The compilation of these data, its mining and profiling by elements hostile to national security and defence of India, which ultimately impinges upon the sovereignty and integrity of India, is a matter of very deep and immediate concern which requires emergency measures,” the statement said.

The IT Ministry said it has invoked its power under section 69A of the IT Act and rules, and has decided to block 59 apps in view of information available that they are “engaged in activities which are prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order”.

The move will “safeguard the interests of crores of Indian mobile and internet users. This decision is a targeted move to ensure safety and sovereignty of Indian cyberspace”, it added.

The list included prominent names like TikTok (which has over 200 million users in India), SHAREit, WeChat, UC Browser, Helo, Likee and Cam Scanner, among others.

The Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre, Ministry of Home Affairs, has also sent an exhaustive recommendation for blocking these malicious apps, the statement said, adding that there has been a strong chorus in the public space to take strict action against apps that harm India’s sovereignty as well as the privacy of citizens. Likewise, there have been similar bipartisan concerns, flagged by various public representatives, both outside and inside Parliament.

“On the basis of these and upon receiving recent credible inputs that such apps pose threat to sovereignty and integrity of India, the Government of India has decided to disallow the usage of certain apps, used in both mobile and non-mobile Internet enabled devices,” it added.

Comments from these companies could not be immediately obtained.

“There have been raging concerns on aspects relating to data security and safeguarding the privacy of 130 crore Indians. It has been noted recently that such concerns also pose a threat to sovereignty and security of our country,” the statement said.

Over 2015-19, Chinese investors including Alibaba, Tencent, TR Capital and Hillhouse Capital, have invested over USD 5.5 billion in Indian startups, according to Venture Intelligence that tracks private equity, venture capital, M&A transactions and valuations, in India.

Union Minister of Communications, Electronics and Information Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad said the move was taken to ensure the country’s integrity and protect data and privacy of Indians.

Congress leader Ahmed Patel also welcomed the decision, adding that the government has to take more substantial measures in light of the Chinese intrusion and unprovoked attack on Indian Army.

The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) said the ban will be a big support to its ‘Boycott Chinese Goods’ campaign.

“This huge unprecedented step will go a long way in strengthening the ‘Boycott China’ campaign of CAIT. Boycott China movement is now well and truly a national reality and seven crore traders of India stands in solidarity with the Union Government,” CAIT Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal said in a statement.

ShareChat Director Public Policy Berges Malu also welcomed the move. “This is a welcome move from the government against platforms that have had serious privacy, cyber security and national security risks. We expect the government to continue their support for the Indian startup ecosystem,” he said.

The full list of banned apps is as follows:

TikTok, Shareit, Kwai, UC Browser, Baidu map, Shein, Clash of Kings, DU battery saver, Helo, Likee, YouCam makeup, Mi Community, CM Browser, Virus Cleaner, APUS Browser, ROMWE, Club Factory, Newsdog, Beauty Plus, WeChat, UC News, QQ Mail, Weibo, Xender, QQ Music, QQ Newsfeed, Bigo Live, SelfieCity, Mail Master, Parallel Space, Mi Video Call – Xiaomi, WeSync, ES File Explorer, Viva Video – QU Video Inc, Meitu, Vigo Video, New Video Status, DU Recorder, Vault- Hide, Cache Cleaner DU App studio, DU Cleaner, DU Browser, Hago Play With New Friends, Cam Scanner, Clean Master – Cheetah Mobile, Wonder Camera, Photo Wonder, QQ Player, We Meet, Sweet Selfie, Baidu Translate, Vmate, QQ International, QQ Security Center, QQ Launcher, U Video, V fly Status Video, Mobile Legends, DU Privacy.

(With inputs from PTI)


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Tech

Chinese Apps Banned in India: Here Are Some Alternatives That You Can Use

The India-China tension has taken a new turn as the government has released an order to announce a ban on popular apps including TikTok, Clash of Kings, Helo, Shareit, Shien and many more. According to the order, a total of 59 apps will be banned as “they are engaged in activities which is prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order.”

While we await details on how exactly these apps will be banned in the country, we’ve listed down a bunch of alternatives that you can use:

UC Browser, CM Browser, APUS Browser, DU Browser

Chrome is rated as one of the best browsers and comes preinstalled on all Android devices that have support from Google. It is also way better as it offers you the ability to sync with your Google account.

CamScanner

This is a popular app used frequently by users to create digital copies of physical documents as well as an archive of scanned documents. It would be a good time to immediately shift your documents to your Google Drive, or use alternatives like Microsoft Office Lens or Adobe Scan.

TikTok, Likee, Viva Video, Vigo Video, Kwai, Bigo Live

If you are looking for alternatives for such short video entertainment platforms there are loads to choose from. There is Dubsmash, Triller and some Indian alternatives like Roposo, Chingari and Bolo Indya.

Also Read

TikTok, Shareit, UC Browser and 56 Chinese Apps Banned by Indian Govt: Full List Here

Xender, ShareIt

These are primarily file transfer apps and also allow you to transfer your apps. There are many file transfer apps including Google’s own Files as well as Jio Switch and ShareAll.

Shein, ClubFactory

If you are into fashion, you would know these apps very well. The two ecommerce apps offer customers a wide range of clothing and accessories that are mostly shipped from China. There are a variety of apps that you can use instead of these including Myntra, Koovs, Jabong, Ajio and many more.

UC News, Newsdog, QQ Newsfeed

Almost every big news agency today offers its own individual app. Also, we recommend using Google News as it offers an excellent recommendation of news articles based on your interests.


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Tech

Here is How to Get Netflix, Amazon Prime, Zee5 And More Free With Your Mobile Plan

Depending on which plan you pick, Reliance Jio, Airtel and Vodafone are bundling subscriptions for Amazon Prime, Netflix, Zee5 and even their own content-rich streaming apps.

Depending on which plan you pick, Reliance Jio, Airtel and Vodafone are bundling subscriptions for Amazon Prime, Netflix, Zee5 and even their own content-rich streaming apps.

A recent Ovum-Amdocs report on the state of OTT services in India suggested that as many as 50% of users are willing to pay for premium media services via their carrier bill if offered at a discount or with an extended free trial. Cellcos are tripping over themselves to bundle Netflix, Amazon Video, Zee5 and more with your bill plan or prepaid recharge.

  • News18
  • Last Updated: February 26, 2020, 12:43 PM IST

Time to Netflix and chill? It turns out, you may not have to pay even a single rupee for subscriptions to video streaming services if you play your cards right. Actually, play your postpaid mobile bill plan or prepaid mobile recharge properly, and you could save a lot of money in the process. And yet not compromise even one bit on the entertainment portfolio. That is because Reliance Jio, Airtel and Vodafone are bundling subscriptions for video streaming platforms including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Zee5 and more with the postpaid bill plans as well as prepaid recharge packs. You might want to pay attention to this and reconfigure your prepaid or postpaid plan to get the best value.

Here is how much you will save, if you get the bundled subscriptions for video streaming platforms with your mobile prepaid and postpaid plans. The Hotstar VIP subscription costs Rs 365 per year while the Hotstar Premium subscription costs Rs 299 per month or Rs 999 per year. Amazon charges Rs 129 per month or Rs 999 per year for the Prime subscription that also includes Amazon Video. Netflix subscription options start at Rs 499 per month for the basic HD subscription going all the way up to Rs 799 per month for the 4K HDR plan—though you have a mobile only plan for Rs 199 per month but that’s just too limiting anyway. Sony Liv charges Rs 499 per year for the premium pack, while Zee5 will cost Rs 999 per year for the All Access Pack. Now that would be a lot of money saved, wouldn’t it?

This is what you mobile plan can get you

Let us give you a snapshot of what is available with each mobile connection, be it prepaid or postpaid. If you have a Reliance Jio subscription, with any prepaid and postpaid plan for the Jio mobile service, you get bundled subscription for a complete range of apps that include Jio TV and Jio Cinema. That is a lot of content to consume, including Live TV which no rival does as well, though Airtel comes close. Speaking of which, Airtel is bundling the Amazon Prime subscription for a year which includes the Prime Video streaming platform, Zee5 and the Airtel Xstream premium video streaming app as part of the Airtel Thanks rewards for postpaid users. Interestingly enough, the Airtel Prime subscription option is available only on the Rs 249 prepaid recharge pack. Vodafone offers subscription to Amazon Prime as well as Vodafone Play and Zee5 platforms with all postpaid plans above Rs 499. The Vodafone REDX premium postpaid plan which costs Rs 999 per month gets the additional benefit of Netflix bundle as well along with a lot of other benefits. All Vodafone prepaid plans bundle Vodafone Play and Zee5 subscriptions.

Reliance Jio: Jio TV and Jio Cinema offer a world of entertainment

Let us start with Reliance Jio first. The Jio TV app is available for Android and iOS platforms, and is perhaps your best choice if you want to watch Live TV without actually needing a DTH or cable TV subscription—there are more than 500 Live channels on board, which includes more than 60 HD channels. As we said before, no other Live TV app in India comes close to the sort of variety and extensive channel options that Jio TV offers. Be it English or Hindi entertainment, news, Live sports, infotainment, music and more, all possible channels covering almost all Indian languages are available—Colors, Star Plus, Sony, Zee TV, &TV, Star Gold, Sony Max, Zee Cinema, Star Movies, HBO HD, Star Sports channels in HD, Sony sports channels in HD, Discovery HD World as well as some value-adds such as the Jio Sports channels. Watching Live sports, including cricket matches, just becomes incredibly more convenient than having to jump from app to app. And that is before we get to the Jio Cinema app—this has an extensive library of Movies and TV shows, including the exclusive Disney content that includes Star Wars, Iron Man and Avengers franchises. Jio Cinema is available for Android, iOS, Android TV and the Amazon Fire TV Stick platforms.

India likes the convenience

A recent Ovum-Amdocs report on the state of OTT services in India suggested that 47% subscribers less likely to switch service providers if they get their preferred OTT streaming services. At the same time, 30% of respondents would not mind switching to another operator if their current operator doesn’t offer their preferred streaming subscriptions. In India, the biggest video streaming services include Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hotstar, Sony Liv, Voot, Zee 5 and Eros Now. The report also suggests that as many as 50% of users are willing to pay for premium media services via their carrier bill if offered at a discount or with an extended free trial. The report did throw up a rather interesting set of statistics. It turns out that Sony Liv gets 50% of its total subscriptions from bundles with mobile, broadband or TV bills. That is the most for any streaming service in India, with Voot in second with 38% while Zee5 follows at 34%. Amazon Prime, which includes the Amazon Prime Video streaming service, gets 25% of its total subscriptions from media bundles—though it is quite commonly found in tariff plans offered by Airtel and Vodafone Idea. For some reason, the survey calculates Amazon Prime’s conversion separately at 15%, but it would be prudent to add the 25% and 15% together under one umbrella. Netflix gets just 19% of its subscribers from media bundles.

Airtel: Are you on prepaid or postpaid?

If you are an Airtel subscriber, postpaid plans have the better bundles—these plans are priced upwards of Rs 499. You get a one-year subscription for Prime Video streaming platform as well as access to premium content on Zee5 and the Airtel Xstream premium video streaming app. In fact, the Airtel Xstream app has more than 10,000 movies on board, TV shows as well as content from a variety of platforms under one roof—these include ZEE5, Hungama, Eros Now, HOOQ, ShareIt, YouTube, ShemarooMe, Ultra, Curiosity Stream. Airtel Xstream app also has Live TV including HD channels. You can access the Airtel Xstream app on Android as well as iOS devices. Airtel prepaid plans which start at Rs 129 for 28-days validity offer Airtel Xstream subscriptions, though only the Rs 349 plan with 28-days validity also bundles the Amazon Prime subscription.

Vodafone: The Vodafone REDX gets it all

For Vodafone, if you are a prepaid subscriber, you will get the Vodafone Play subscription as well as premium content from Zee5 with all unlimited recharge packs. The Vodafone Play app gives you access to more than 450 Live TV channels as well as more than 15,000 movies on the platform. Vodafone says the Play content includes movies and TV shows from ZEE5, SonyLIV, Lionsgate Play, Eros Now, Shemaroo Me, Hoichoi, Sun NXT, Hungama, Discovery and Yupp TV. Now that’s out of the way, let us look at the slight complexity that the postpaid plans offer. The entry spec Rs 399 Vodafone RED plan also only offers Vodafone Play and premium Zee5 content. But for the Vodafone RED plan Rs 499 and more, there is the additional sweetener of the Amazon Prime subscription worth Rs 999. However, the flagship Vodafone REDX plan which costs Rs 999 per month gets you one year of Netflix subscription worth Rs 5,998 per year as well, among other advantages such as complimentary international roaming packs and airport lounge access.