Paytm

Update: Paytm says that it will enable a limited-duration free WiFi service for 15 minutes every day per user. The company is also planning to extend free WiFi service to four more locations in the Delhi-NCR region. For now, the service is live at Noida-18 metro station through a partnership with a licensed undisclosed ISP. After evaluating response from users, the project is likely to be extended nation-wide.

Paytm has also formed an ‘on-ground team’ to educate potential users like on how to connect to their free WiFi hotspot. The service is primarily aimed at enabling Paytm payments for auto rickshaw drivers and other vendors, nearby a hotspot location.

Earlier: Mobile payments and commerce company Paytm has recently started offering free WiFi service as a pilot project. The service is currently live at Noida Sector 18 (near metro) and is expected to be rolled out in more locations later.

Paytm’s CEO and Founder clarified on his twitter page that ‘Paytm WiFi’ will provide free access to internet without any discrimination on usage—a user can browse through any app or webpage on his/her smartphone. An ET report said that the pilot program would allow a user to connect to the service for 15 minutes only.

MediaNama had reached out to Paytm and CEO Vijay Shekhar Sharma for the following clarifications and we will update once we hear from them.

-How long is the WiFi available to the user when connected? Is there an option to pay and use as well?

-What are the limitation regarding data usage?

-How many hotspots have Paytm installed/planning to install; which all cities?

-When can customers expect a full-fledged roll out?

-What is Paytm’s intention behind this rollout? Is Paytm turning into a free Wi-Fi provider as well?

Recent free WiFi initiatives

Ola WiFi: This month, online cab aggregator Ola had launched ‘Ola WiFi’, a WiFi service in Ola cabs, which will let Ola users connect to it automatically, without having to enter credentials. Ola claims that users with a ‘one time authentication’ can use Ola WiFi without having to login into the network for subsequent rides.

BSNL WiFi: This month, state run telco BSNL added 50 new WiFi hotspot locations in the country across its circles. BSNL announced in January that it plans to set up around 40,000 WiFi hotpsots across the country to make up for the lack of its own 4G services; it claimed to have already deployed 500 public WiFi hotspots by that time.

Google and RailTel: Last week, Google and RailTel has extended their high speed free WiFi service to nine cities. Google had kickstarted the project with RailTel earlier in January in Mumbai Central station. It said that more than 100,000 people are already logging into the high-speed WiFi every week.

KSRTC Free WiFi: In February, the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) said that it would launch WiFi at 144 major bus stations across the state. This includes four bus stations in Bangalore currently undergoing the pilot survey, which will be extended to 14 bus stations in the city eventually.

Read more on our coverage on public WiFi services here.