Google Funded Report Finds More Public Wi-Fi can Boost Telco Revenues to US$ 3 Billion


The study was conducted by Google and Indian Railways’ telecom wing – Railtel, in 400 railway stations across India using high-speed Internet

Google Public WiFi, Telco revenues, Telecom public Wifi, Free Wifi
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A new report by Google commissioned Analysys Mason has discovered that expansion of more public Wi-Fi, which will successfully encourage more data consumption by existing users and cater to the addition of new customers, can potentially increase the revenues of telecom companies to US$ 3 billion between 2017 to 2019.

Participants of the study expressed willingness to spend on an average Rs 151 to additional data services

The telecom arm of Indian Railways – RailTel, in collaboration with Google conducted a public Wi-Fi service study at 400 Indian railway stations and as per the study, “a significant fraction of users” after having used high-speed Internet via the high-speed Wi-Fi services from Google-Railtel, had shown interest in buying a new mobile broadband SIM card to keep accessing high speed Internet. The report also found that an average participant consumed more than 300 MB in a half-an-hour session.

In fact, a fragment of participants who were already using mobile broadband plan said that they can upgrade their current data plan after experiencing the high-speed Internet. “Demand stimulation with free high-speed public Wi-Fi has the potential to increase revenue for other operators by about US$ 3 billion cumulatively from 2017 to 2019,” the study noted. It added that availability to unfettered high-speed Wi-Fi broadband is most likely to result in “tangible business benefits” for stakeholders like telco majors and handset manufacturers.

Interested respondents who said they can purchase a new mobile broadband data plan added that they can spend Rs 151 (US$ 2.2) on an average basis on additional data services. On the other hand, those who showed interests in upgrading their existing broadband plan said they were willing to spend Rs 158 (US$ 2.3) on an average basis for having done the upgrade

Another 14 per cent of the participants showed interests to upgrade their smartphones itself following the usage of the high-speed Internet offered by Google-Railtel. They said they were willing to incur an additional monthly expenditure of Rs 405 (US$ 5.9) towards upgrading their smartphones.

India is estimated to have over 36,000 commercial hotspots

The study noted that by 2019, India can have more than 600 million people consuming the Internet from public Wi-Fi services. If this is indeed a target, India is required to have over three million access points across the country, including third-tier cities and villages.

It is estimated that there are approximately 30,000 commercial hotspots in the country as opposed to emerging public Wi-Fi markets such as China (more than 6.1 million users) and Indonesia and Mexico (more than 1.65 lakh each). The Google-Railtel study also discovered that mobile users ought to use Wi-Fi to offload excess data traffic from cellular networks with some of the cost-saving potentially getting re-invested in more public Wi-Fi services.