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Get ready to pay for using Mumbai WiFi services; strength of hotpots will be increased to 2600

The Maharashtra government has decided to monetise the service by awarding it to a private operator

mumbai Updated: Apr 20, 2018 00:49 IST
Faisal Malik
Faisal Malik
Hindustan Times
The service, however, will continue to be free for the first 30 minutes.

You will now have to pay for the free WiFi service in Mumbai that was started by the state government for citizens ahead of last year’s civic polls.

The Maharashtra government has decided to monetise the service by awarding it to a private operator. This means you will be charged for using the internet services that has been free since its launch in January last year. The operator will be selected through a bidding process and will be given rights to decide charges for using the service. However, it will continue to be free for the first 30 minutes.

Moreover, the operator will be allowed to accept digital advertisements to maximise revenue generation and also relocate current hotspot locations based on usage. The government also wants the operator to increase number of WiFi hotspots to 2,600 from the current 1,200 hotspots.

The ambitious project was rolled out last by the state government by activating around 1,200 hotspots across public places in two phases.

SVR Srinivas, secretary information technology department, confirmed the development.

The Maharashtra Information Technology Corporation Limited (MITCL), a government subsidiary that installed the project, has issued a Request For Proposal (RFP) for the decision.

The firm will be allowed explore all possible Wi-Fi monetisation channels, including selling access to citizens after the free quota, more duration at lucrative rates, higher speed, loyalty schemes for return customers, advertising on the Mumbai Wi-Fi network, significant partnership with multi-channel brands and earning revenues through in-browser advertisements, location-based advertisements, targeted video-based advertisements, etc. However, browsing all government websites shall be excluded from the list of paid services, said a senior IT official.

The firm can choose to leave a few, a majority or all of the already deployed hotspot locations and have suitable arrangements with existing agencies, says the tender documents.

“We want to continue the services for the people for which it needs to be made financially viable,” the officer said.

The government has also put some conditions as eligibility criteria for the bidders. They should have achieved an average annual turnover of more than Rs5 crore in telecom services or in installing and managing telecom infrastructure. They must have experience in implementing and monetising at least one public Wi-Fi project with a minimum of 400 access points or a minimum of 40 public Wi-Fi Hotspots and should have been generating positive revenue for at least two quarters as on the date of bid-submission, says the documents.

The firm will have to pay earnest money deposit of Rs10 lakh in the form of a bank guarantee. The term of the contract will of four years till January 2022.

First Published: Apr 20, 2018 00:49 IST