From next year, mobile users will be able to seamlessly roam on public WiFi hotspots across the country. In simple terms, once a user logs in to a public WiFi network and moves on to a different location/city, the user will automatically be connected to WiFi network available without any need for re-verification.
Private players including Airtel, Vodafone Idea, Reliance Jio and BSNL will be setting up one million WiFi hotspots by next year, a senior executive from a telecom firm told DNA Money.
Currently, when a user logs on to public WiFi, he/she has to log in and authenticate the process every time with a change in location. These hotspots will be set up at airports, major localities, market areas, malls and other locations.
The centralised clearinghouse for billing and other technical issues has been set up by few telecom players already which will allow them to connect automatically to WiFi when they move to different locations or cities while travelling, the executive said.
This will also allow the players to tap the new markets especially in small towns and cities where there will be first-time users and usage will be less initially.
Cellular Operators Association of India director general Rajan Mathews confirmed the development and said such a proposal is in the works and will be implemented by next year.
A proof of the concept has already been showcased to the Department of Telecommunications and Ministry of Home Affairs and the project to set up 1 million WiFi hotspots is expected to start by end of this month, Mathews said.
This will also help telecom players to offload users to WiFi network, freeing up their mobile network for better efficiency.
With data consumption by smartphone users rising manifold over the last couple of years, the operators are working towards freeing the mobile networks by making users shift to broadband, WiFi and fibre to home solutions which will also allow users to access internet at much faster speeds.
State-run telecom player BSNL is the only player which offers its users a seamless access to 44 million WiFi hotspots in over 100 countries including international flights and rail systems in partnership with global payers. The BSNL users just need to download an app for the same.
Once the project is completed, the tariff structure will be finalised by the players, the executive from a telecom firm said. Most likely, it will come bundled with the existing tariff plan with an additional monthly cost.
Many of the places, public WiFi is free, but in some areas, it is free initially for 15-30 minutes, then a user needs to buy a top- up, which comes in various denominations – Rs 15, 20, 50, 100 and so on.
The private players will be setting up 1 million hotspots through viability gap funding, under PDOA (public data office aggregator – similar to cyber cafes) system as recommended by telecom regulator Trai. Though the players have suggested their own models for setting up these hotspots which have been broadly accepted by the department of telecommunications.
The private players will be setting up 1 million hotspots through viability gap funding, under PDOA (public data office aggregator – similar to cyber cafes) system as recommended by telecom regulator Trai