Netflix is testing a new Rs. 299 per month Mobile+ plan in India that allows members to stream high-definition (HD) 720p video and also access the streaming service on computers (including PC, Mac, and Chromebook). In terms of benefits and price, this sits between two of the existing plans Rs. 199 Mobile and Rs. 649 Standard. While Netflix’s Mobile plan is restricted to standard-definition (SD) 480p video quality and mobile devices only, Standard lets you go up to full-HD 1080p video and access on computer and living room devices (TV, consoles, and smart devices). But like Mobile, the new Mobile+ won’t let you watch on TV or on simultaneous screens, as you can on Standard.
In a statement to Gadgets 360, Netflix said: “We launched the Mobile plan in India to make it easier for anyone with a smartphone to enjoy Netflix. We want to see if members like the added choice Mobile+ brings. We’ll only roll it out long-term if they do.”
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This is not the first time that Netflix has tested a Mobile+ plan in India. In July last year, it rolled out the exact same thing — except the price was set at Rs. 349 then. That was never rolled out widely suggesting that members didn’t find value in it. Netflix is now trying it out again with a lower price point, to see if it will work better.
As I’d said then, there’s an argument to be made that Mobile+ seems poised to be the “new Basic”. For one, it’s high time that Netflix dropped SD streaming from all its plans. And two, Mobile+ is great for those who don’t own a TV — or care for the big screen experience.
After all, Netflix subscribers in India watch more on their mobiles than members anywhere else globally.
The new Mobile+ test also finds itself in a different environment, with Amazon having unveiled Prime Video Mobile Edition back in January at Rs. 89 per month. Of course, that competes with Netflix’s Mobile — and crucially, is limited to Airtel prepaid customers.
As always with Netflix tests, the new Rs. 299 Mobile+ plan is being trialled with select customers, so you might not see it when you visit the website.
India isn’t the only market for the Mobile+ plan testing. Netflix has previously experimented with it in Poland in February last year (where it also had support for simultaneous viewing on two screens) and then across Africa, having started in Egypt and South Africa (where it was limited to SD resolution).