The telecom regulator 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 AirtelBSE 2.28 %, Vodafone India and new entrant Reliance Jio Infocomm 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 their cellular networks, while Jio is expected to 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 the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India said.
The paper will try to recommend certain 'payment gateways' that will ease the usage of Wi-Fi.
Besides launching Wi-Fi apps, Airtel and Vodafone have formed a joint venture - Firefly Networks - to deploy Wi-Fi technology in public places. Jio has deployed 4G-backed public Wi-Fi in some parts of Kolkata, Varanasi and Gujarat, besides in stadiums during sports events.