Pallab Mitra has joined Airtel as Head of Alliances, Internet of Things (IoT) and Machine to Machine (M2M), the company has confirmed to MediaNama. Mitra returns to Airtel, where was previously Head of M-Commerce and mobile payments, before he left to join Tata Docomo. Airtel doesn’t appear to have focused significantly on IoT and M2M, while Vodafone has been particularly aggressive with its rollouts. India is in the process of finalizing an IoT and M2M policy. A draft version available here. More from our #NAMAiot event here.
What’s interesting is that just prior to returning to Airtel, Mitra was Chief Operating Officer of Ozone Networks, a company providing WiFi in India, across restaurant and shop chains in 23 major cities: and that Ozone has just been bought by British telecom operator New Call telecom.
Ozone provides WiFi at around 2000 locations, with 6500 hot-spots, including at McDonalds, Costa Coffee, Oberoi otels, Barista coffee, Mumbai airport, Apollo hospitals, Hauz Khas village, KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell. It claims that it gets 2.5 million people every month. One part of Mitra’s role is likely to be the roll-out of public WiFi for Airtel. Airtel already has WiFi rollouts in India, including at Cyberhub in Gurgaon. Separately, it has a joint venture with Vodafone called Firefly, for deploying public WiFi.