Tata Teleservices, which operates under Tata Docomo brand, stayed away from last few auctions (BWA auction in 2010, Unified 1800MHz auction in 2013, Unified 900 & 1800MHz auction in 2014), which causes the company with out any spectrum capable of rolling out 4G services.
Certainly there is some excitement around 4G/LTE services across the globe, as well in India. But ultimately it's about about high speed data. Tata Teleservices doesn't want to miss the data-train. Hence with their exisiting infrastructure, i.e. optic fiber backbone Tata Tele is looking for to tap data subscribers on their upcoming WiFi network.
Presently Tata Tele has 540 WiFi hotspots across the country and soon new 4,000 WiFi hotspots will be installed in 9 top cities. In last few months Tata Teleservices has checked the growth on WiFi usage is nearly doubled.
Tata Tele has made a deal with GMR Airports in May, 2013 to launch WiFi in Indira Gandhi International Airport-Terminal 3 in Delhi and Rajiv Gandhi Hyderabad International Airport, Hyderabad. The service is free of cost to passengers for a specified time.
Other WiFi Initiatives:
- Reliance Jio and Gujarat Govt. launched WiFi network in Ahamedabad. It will be offering free data usage for first three months.
- In February 20, Bihar Government has launched a free WiFi corridor stretched about 20Km from NIT-Patna on Ashok Rajpath to Danapur. This free WiFi services will be expanded to all tourist-spots in Bihar.
- In January this year Bangalore got country's first WiFi hotspots in major 5 locations of the metro as State Government's Namma WiFi initiative was launched. It will be expanded across towns and cities of Karnataka.
- MTNL plans to roll out WiFi services in public places in Delhi and Mumbai. MTNL broadband users can access this service using their broadband password and username at a very nominal cost.
- Vodafone has launched WiFi services at Rapid Metro Station in Gurgaon in January this year.
- In March, 2013 Idea Cellular has soft-launched WiFi in 5 cities - Ahmedabad, Cochin, Pune, Hyderabad, and Vishakhapatnam. But there was total silence after that.
- Govt. of India is rolling out its own OFC network to roll out free public WiFi services across 2.5 lakh villages.
- Airtel also entered in WiFi business in 2012, but the soft-launch was limited to Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore. Nothing heard from them afterwards.
- Indian Railways had several WiFi trials over some express trains. In April, 2013 New Delhi- Howrah Rajdhani Express was the first train to get this service. Soon it will be expanded to another 50 trains.
- Aircel was the first mobile operator to roll out WiFi services with collaboration with SpectraNet. It was launched in February 2011 but recently no updates from them.
- Air India to offer WiFi services in-flight.
- Ozone WiFi is the country's largest WiFi service provider with more than 10,000 hotspots across the country. It is available in many public places - coffee shops, airports, hotels and restaurants. In 2012 Google tied up with them to offer free WiFi to Google+ users.
Almost a year back, I wrote that, state of WiFi in India is not good, but it is getting significant traction in India - a win-win situation for service providers and vendors as well as users. However with some many government approaches and free services Tata Teleservices will find WiFi business very competitive.
To be afloat in the market Tata Tele should adopt some strategies to make its WiFi business success. I would suggest them to offer WiFi free of cost to all customer for first few minutes. These free users will not get much speed. Those are paying for the services should get better dedicated speed. Tariff part should be prudently made to attract customers, because Tata Docomo has the worst tariff in wired broadband segment. Apart from the kB/MB Tata Tele should offer time based tariff. For that they can use Opera Webpass like Idea Cellular (check out Idea Webpass plans).