Public Wi-Fi will connect 40 million new users to the Internet by 2019 and that around 100 million people would be willing to spend an additional $2 to 3 billion per year on handsets and a similar amount on cellular mobile broadband services, as a result of experiencing fast broadband on public Wi-Fi.
Public Wi-Fi can play a key role in driving ubiquitous connectivity and digital inclusion in India says Analysys Mason study on ‘Accelerating connectivity through public Wi-Fi: Early lessons from the railway Wi-Fi project’.
The report further outlines an opportunity to develop a wider connectivity ecosystem with Public Wi-Fi as a key component, which can not only benefit users and wireless ISPs, but also telecom service providers, handset manufacturers and venue owners.
TSPs in particular can benefit by monetising demand for faster mobile broadband and higher data volumes on their networks, as people get used to fast speeds and ubiquitous connectivity.
The report indicates that In addition to driving productivity improvements from high speed Wi-Fi for the overall economy, public Wi-Fi can also translate into tangible benefits to GDP, by around $20 billion between 2017-19 and at least $10 billion per annum thereafter.
David Abecassis, Partner, Analysys Mason said, “Google and RailWire project to deploy high speed Wi-Fi across 400 stations has shown that there was a technical and operational solution to providing high-quality public Wi-Fi to millions of Indians nationwide, on affordable terms. The success of this rollout and Reliance Jio’s 80,000 public Wi-Fi access points as of mid-2017 provide valuable insights in further developing public Wi-Fi as a service that can truly achieve the Digital India vision.”
K. Suri, Director, Partnership, India, Next Billion Users, Google India said, “Our partnership with RailTel to bring high speed connectivity to millions of Indians across 400 train station, today stands as a lighthouse project for the industry and underscores the importance of investing in public Wi-Fi as a crucial step in getting high quality internet to everyone in India.”
The report further highlights that the Investment in public Wi-Fi can further unlock an opportunity for mobile operators to offload excess data traffic from cellular networks, and deploy advanced technologies such as Hotspot 2.0 for ensuring interoperable roaming between cellular and Wi-Fi.