Ortel Communications has introduced free public WiFi hotspots for its broadband subscribers, as a value added service in Bhubaneswar, the company informed BSE (pdf). The hotspots can be accessed by Ortel’s subscribers through mobiles, tablets and laptops, and Ortel plans to expand this service to other markets soon.

It seems that Ortel had this in mind since June last year, since both Ortel and Airtel had expressed interest in providing WiFi the mobile-dense areas of Bhubaneswar. The project was estimated to cost Rs 100 crore, targeting completion by June 2016. The company said then it would offer free internet for 30 minutes every day for every user and take feedback before rolling out full fledged WiFi services. The cost would be borne by both operators.

WiFi initiatives: In less than two weeks since this new year, service providers have already started offering public WiFi services in the country, ahead of Reliance Jio’s 4G launch, but notably after Idea, Vodafone, Videocon and Airtel started offering theirs.

– The first was BSNL, which is working on setting up 40,000 WiFi hotspots across the country to make up for the lack of its own 4G services. BSNL claims to have deployed 500 WiFi hotspots, with the plan to increase it to 2,500 by the end of this financial year. In November, Facebook and BSNL entered into a partnership to create 100 WiFi hotspots in rural areas in India.

– Yesterday, the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) and telecom operator Tata Docomo signed a partnership to offer free WiFi services, to be provided around PJ Tower in Mumbai to the public. This would be free of cost and be available for four hours a day to start with.

– Internet service provider Joister also launched Joispot WiFi, a public WiFi initiative in Mumbai, Thane, Navi Mumbai and Pune, with speeds of upto 2Mbps. The company will also offer paid WiFi speeds of 4Mbps and 8Mbps for Rs 200 and Rs 300 respectively.

Other developments at Ortel:

– In October, ErosNow tied up with Ortel to offer a subscription based movie streaming service called Ortel Broadband Movies. Ortel would get access to ErosNow’s library and stream it for its broadband users across TV, PC and mobile.

– In June Ortel Communications has appointed Jiji John as the VP of its broadband business, where John would be responsible for growth and profits of the broadband business.

– In March, Ortel’s Initial Public Offering (IPO), failed to gain full subscription. Of the 12 million shares issued, about 9.68 million, or around 81%, was subscribed to. Ortel had previously mentioned that it was looking to raise Rs 217.2- 240 crore through its IPO.

Image Credit: Sébastien Bertrand under the CC BY 2.0 license