Trai Pa­per to Pro­mote Wi-Fi in Pub­lic Places

The Economic Times - - Companies - Anan­dita.Manko­tia @times­group.com

New Delhi: Trai will soon float a con­sul­ta­tion pa­per on ways to pro­mote Wi-Fi in pub­lic places with easy pay­ment op­tions, which could help de­con­gest car­rier net­works and im­prove ser­vices while deep­en­ing broad­band avail­abil­ity. The pa­per will come when top tel­cos Bharti Air­tel, Voda­fone In­dia and new en­trant Re­liance Jio are de­ploy­ing Wi-Fi net­works in what could be a new bat­tle­ground for higher-pay­ing data cus­tomers. Air­tel and Voda­fone have also launched Wi-Fi hotspot apps to off­load data traf­fic and ease pres­sure on cel­lu­lar net­works, while Jio may do the same af­ter its launch ex­pected later this year.

Use of Wi-Fi in pub­lic places hasn’t taken off, mainly due to cum­ber­some au­then­ti­ca­tion pro­ce­dures and chal­lenges around mon­etis­ing the ser­vices.

“We will soon float the con­sul­ta­tion which will try to find ways in which both the user of pub­lic Wi-Fi and providers are able to ben­e­fit,” RS Sharma, chair­man of Trai, told ET.

The pa­per will try to rec­om­mend cer­tain ‘pay­ment gate­ways’ that will ease the us­age of Wi-Fi.

“Once a user logs into a pub­lic Wi-Fi, the provider should make it clear that this is the per-megabyte pay­ment charge or the price for us­ing the Wi-Fi for a time pe­riod, say half an hour, at the end of which the provider should also in­form the user the charge for us­age,” Sharma said, ex­plain­ing that ac­cess to pub­lic Wi-Fi and pay­ment for us­age should be seam­less, pain­less and trans­par­ent.

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