Public Wi-Fi service provider Ozone Networks has signed a Small Cell as a Service agreement with Ericsson to provide a neutral Wi-Fi network across India. Ericsson currently offers small cell as a service with different business models to suit different environments, like connected streets, venues and enterprises.
In the first stage of this project, Ozone will get 30,000 Wi-Fi access points, network management nodes and tools, along with various monetization options for the network, from Ericsson. These will include a way to offer various telecommunications operators a chance to reduce data load on their network by using the neutral Wi-Fi network to carry parts of the traffic.
This deal will be a ‘connected venues’ application of Ericsson’s technology as it will be used by Ozone to serve malls, shops, cafes and restaurants. As per the agreement, Ericsson will be responsible for managing the platform for a period of five years. It is not yet clear which cities and locations Ozone will target.
Ozone Networks currently claims to have over 1200 Wi-Fi hotspots in the country and provides free Wi-Fi to users around those hotspots. The network has partnerships with brands like Subway, Haldiram’s, McDonald’s, Mumbai International Airport, Baskin Robbins, Gloria Jean’s Coffees etc., to provide Wi-Fi connectivity in those locations, as well as to distribute advertising over its networks.
Ericsson had launched Small Cell as a Service at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, earlier this year. The platform provides clients with small cell technology, plans, designs, builds and optimized networks, and manages it for them, based on long term contract.
Google+ deal: In January 2012, Ozone Networks had signed a three month deal with with Google to offer users free and unlimited access to Google+ and access to YouTube to watch ‘exclusive movie clips’ and promotions for 10 minutes each week, when they connect to Ozone’s Wi-Fi hotspots across the country.
Public WiFi zones in India:
– In January this year, Bangalore had become the first city to have free WiFi hotspots called Namma WiFi, on M G Road, Brigade Road and four other locations in Bangalore.
– A 20 km free Wi-Fi zone between National Institute of Technology (NIT) Patna (located at Ashok Rajpath) and Danapur town present in western Patna, had been launched by the Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar in February this year.
– Telecom service provider Vodafone had introduced a WiFi zone for its customers at the Belvedere Rapid Metro Station in Gurgaon, as a part of its branding exercise at the Rapid Metro Station in Gurgaon while the government owned MTNL had stated plans to launch WiFi hotspots with speeds of 8Mbps for its customers in Mumbai and Delhi.
– Tata DOCOMO had an exclusive agreement with GMR Airports to offer Wi-Fi services at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi, Tikona had planned to launch a Wi-Fi network at the Maharana Pratap Inter-State bus terminus (ISBT) in partnership with the Delhi Transport Corporation while Videocon Telecom had partnered with Chinese telecom equipment vendor Huawei to launch Wi-Fi hotspots in Punjab circle.
– Idea Cellular had also soft-launched its WiFi service in 5 select cities – Ahmedabad, Cochin, Pune, Hyderabad, and Vizag. Other public WiFi initiatives includes Air India which plans to offer free WiFi on its domestic and international flights and Indian Railways’s string of WiFi pilot projects on Howrah Rajdhani Express, Mumbai-Ahmedabad Shatabdi Express, Chennai- Bangalore-Chennai Shatabdi Express and at New Delhi railway station.