I got a chance to see the compact Sify E-Port Express at the India Telecom 2008 exhibition (not try out because free internet access means long queues).
Sify is looking at the e-port Express as a B2B business, much like its cybercafe business. It is being sold to malls and retailers at a one time cost of Rs. 40,000 (plus taxes) for an HCL computer and a Canon printer, and the kiosk. Over and above this, there’s also an installation charge of Rs. 500, and a monthly fee for Internet connectivity, which ranges from Rs. 300 for a limited connection to Rs. 1100 for an unlimited connection; Sify makes money off the connection, but retailers are also allowed to tie up with other service providers.
Monetization for the retailer can come by way of charging for internet connectivity (entirely up to the retailer), and a Rs. 5 service charge levied on services like bill payments (electricity, insurance, telephone), mobile recharge, Itz Card rechanrge, tax payment, etc.
To be honest, I’m quite skeptical about the E-Port Express model…many have run kiosk pilots in India, but there hasn’t been mass scale deployment. I think the primary usage for E-Ports will be for Internet access and not bill payment, which means that retailers can set up a similar kiosk system for much less than Rs. 40,000. Not very promising this, from Sify.