While India may have lagged behind China and others in that early manufacturing age, it sure as hell is keeping up with its counterparts, as far as internet connectivity is concerned. Wifi hotspots continue to sprout up in cities and even on railway stations (thanks to Google!).
In an addition to that, Paytm too is now rolling out free wifi hotspots at metro stations in Delhi, with Noida Sector 18’s station getting the first of those. The service at Noida Sector 18 metro station as was revealed by Vijay Shekhar Sharma on Facebook through a screenshot.
Talking about this new initiative, Vijay Shekhar Sharma told the ET,
We are building avenues for our merchants and consumers who do not have access to Internet at all times to stay connected with Paytm. Initially we are looking at metros because they are key locations for our consumers and our merchants, especially the auto-rickshaw walas.
Initially, when Sharma had announced the service through Twitter, people had assumed that free internet was only being provided by the company to access PayTm wallet. However, Sharma later clarified that free WiFi will offer equal internet for every app and not free for Paytm app only.
For Delhi-NCR though, there already are service providers which are offering free public WiFi hotspots in the city. Popular shopping zones such as Khan Market and CP have free WiFi zones being offered by Vodafone and Tata Docomo. Service providers such as Ozone are also offering their free WiFi service at coffee shops and railway stations.
MTS had also introduced a similar WiFi service in Rapid Metro Gurgaon, however, other metro stations in Delhi are yet to get such service despite pre-poll promises made by the current government. Paytm’s entry (if it turns out to be as serious and aggressive as we are assuming it to be) will change the dynamics of this domain to a large extent.
However, Sharma has indicated that there will be a limit to the free usage of PayTm WiFi. But that shouldn’t really dampen spirits, considering that is an obvious with even the largest of such services. He said,
This is in its beta version, so we are still learning. After a point, we can expect our consumers to buy these services.
Offering free Wifi has become a consumer demand now, considering that Google and Microsoft — both are rolling out their respective mega projects to offer free wifi. This rise in demand can also be attributed to the aggressive pace in which Indian continue to join their fellow online populace on the internet.
Last year, taxi aggregators, Ola and Uber also started offering free Wifi to their customers in cabs. Ola is currently offering free WiFi in its premium taxi rides through Ola Prime. It recently also upgraded the service by introducing automatic login into WiFi without any hassles of registration, codes etc.
Uber had also partnered with Airtel to offer free 4G WiFi to its customers in Mumbai and plans to roll out these services to other cities as well.