There has already been an announcement in the telecom industry about the deployment of more than a million Wi-Fi hotspots across the country by the year-end. Almost all big telcos like Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea and BSNL, are deploying massive Wi-Fi hotspot sites to extend internet availability for their subscribers. These telecom operators are offering free data to their subscribers in these hotspots, providing a broad footprint of hotspots across the country and also retailing Wi-Fi hotspot plans for their subscribers in case they need to use more than the allotted data. In public places, these hotspots will be especially useful as they will grant high-speed internet access to subscribers very quickly. Here is a quick run-up between the various Wi-Fi hotspots which the telcos have introduced in India.
When it comes to Wi-Fi hotspot, there is no telecom operator which comes even near to the government led telecom operator, BSNL. Although the operator is lagging in the 4G network, the government led telco has deployed Wi-Fi hotspots at over 30,000 locations in 16,367 sites. There is also a large directory on BSNL website, where users will be able to find out their nearest Wi-Fi hotspot location which BSNL is providing.
This is in comparison to the other telcos like Vodafone which have currently deployed around 200 Wi-Fi hotspots majorly centred in big cities like Mumbai, Pune and Bangalore. On the other hand, Airtel’s Wi-Fi Zone service which is a similar offering like BSNL’s and Vodafone’s is currently available in around 500 locations across various parts of Delhi, Karnataka, Pune, Hyderabad locations.
Pricing and Data
Firstly, talking about Vodafone, the telecom operator has not yet put out a specific tariff card for the users of its Wi-Fi hotspots although it has announced that all of its postpaid and prepaid customers who have a data pack or combined offering which exceeds 1GB will get additional 1GB data to be used on these Wi-Fi hotspots. In case they exceed this 1GB limit, they will be able to use their existing 3G or 4G Wi-Fi quota on these hotspots as well. Further, Vodafone customers will be able to check their data quota by dialling *111# on their phones. Since the extra data credit for Wi-Fi hotspots will not be valid for 2G customers, they will be able to select a data sachet from the list of ‘VFWiFiVoucher’ in case they want to access data from Vodafone Wi-Fi hotspots.
Bharti Airtel, on the other hand, is providing 10GB of Wi-Fi hotspot data to all its subscribers who are using unlimited combo plans. After the users exhaust this 10GB limit, they can use their existing data balance to access data from the Wi-Fi hotspot. Across these three telcos, Airtel is offering the maximum free data on Wi-Fi hotspots. Some plans even ship with 20GB of Airtel Wi-Fi data.
BSNL differs quite a bit in this regard as the telco is not shipping any free data to its subscribers who wish to surf the internet using Wi-Fi hotspots. However, BSNL has got a long range of Wi-Fi hotspot plans which start for as low as Rs 19 offering 2GB of data with two days validity. There are also other Wi-Fi hotspot plans in this roster for Rs 39, Rs 59 and Rs 69 as well for the BSNL subscribers to choose from.