Eyeing on the increasing data subscribers, Tata Teleservices is planning to expand its Wi-Fi hotspots network by installing around 4,000 new WiFi hotspots across nine Indian cities over the next two years. According to a Economic Times report, “Tata expects the internet usage to rise exponentially on the back of year-on-year doubling of smartphone devices in India.”
Currently Tata Teleservices has around 540 Wi-Fi hotspots across India which include the T3 international airport terminal in New Delhi, the Wankhede cricket stadium in Mumbai, five-star hotels and cafes in several cities.
India’s Smartphone market is on a rise as research firm IDC quotes that in year 2013 around 44 million smartphones were shipped compared to 16.2 million in 2012, that’s a 171% rise. The skyrocketing sales was with the help of affordable low-end Android smartphones by local vendors like Micromax and Karbonn and by international vendor mainly Samsung.
“The company had witnessed a huge increase in data consumption on mobile phones since it began creating wi-fi hotspots for airports, restaurants, cafes and other businesses nine months ago.
From about 1 lakh log-ins in April last year, we now have 4.4 lakh logins, where the average time spent in each session is 40 minutes. So roughly, we’ve clocked 35 million minutes of usage as of January, up from 18 million minutes in April,” said Avinash Gabriel, chief operations officer of the wi-fi business at Tata Teleservices.
Unlike 3G and 4G that needs costly spectrum license to operate, WiFi network is basically a free airwaves that can be deployed under low-cost. During the recent 1800MHz and 900MHz band spectrum auction, Tata Teleservice was the only telecom operator who didn’t pick up spectrum. Tata plan to use its WiFi network to offload its users data consumption and thus avoiding paying for the costly 3G/4G spectrum. Tata will use its already laid down fibre networks to set up the Wi-Fi hotspots in this nine cities.