Delhi Metro Will Provide WiFi For All Passengers; Invite Bids From Mobile Operators
World’s 13th largest metro system and India’s third biggest urban mass rapid transport network, Delhi Metro, has now decided to provide WiFi for all its passengers. As per reports, they have invited bids from all mobile operators present in Delhi NCR to install and run WiFi within their premises and all running trains.
Insiders are stating that the WiFi provided by Delhi Metro would be state of the art, advanced system, as 25% of all stations are underground. Although not yet announced, but it seems that WiFi would not be completely free but based on a profit sharing basis.
Currently, Gurgaon’s Rapid MetroRail System (which is not part of Delhi Metro but linked with it) provides free WiFi for its passengers across their 6 stations, in partnership with MTS India. Comparably, Delhi Metro is much bigger, covering 193 kms and having 140 stations.
A Delhi Metro official said, “This was a long standing demand of the commuters. We have asked mobile operators to submit their proposals and will check feasibility and other parameters after that,”
Around 25 lakh Delhites use Delhi Metro on a daily basis, and among them, almost 70-80% carry a smartphone. It seems Delhi Metro has finally realized the requirements and relevance of smartphone users and technology as recently they have introduced a unique scheme for Android users, wherein passengers can get free Metro credit after downloading apps via Offer World platform.
It is expected that the WiFi would be rolled out by end of this year, with the bidding and allocation process scheduled to be over by May end.
AAP Government & Delhi Metro Not On The Same Page?
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which formed government in Delhi this year, had promised free WiFi for whole of Delhi. After coming to power, they changed their stance and announced that free WiFi would be provided only for 30 minutes, and would be charged afterwards. They will also enforce an advertisement which will run for 30 seconds, before starting the free 30 minutes WiFi.
Last month, AAP announced the formation of a special ‘task force’ which will have investor and entrepreneur Mahesh Murthy, Medianama founder Nikhil Pahwa and CIS policy director Pranesh Prakash as members. This task force has been assigned the responsibility of researching the best practices of providing WiFi to an entire city, and implementing it.
Delhi Metro is being run and governed by Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), which is a state owned company under Ministry of Urban Development, Government of India. However, both Delhi Government and Government of India have equal powers in running its operations which included security and technology.
Now, its certainly not clear whether AAP’s promise of free WiFi (30 minutes free WiFi?) shall cover Delhi Metro or not, as the special ‘task force’ hasn’t yet commented on this. In case Delhi Metro offers a freemium based WiFi, then would it be completely separate from Delhi Government’s WiFi?
In coming days, we will get the answers to clear the doubts between Delhi Metro’s WiFi and Delhi Government’s WiFi promises.
But one thing is clear: Passengers of Delhi Metro, who recently ranked them as 2nd best in the world for customer satisfaction, will now have more to cheer. And Delhi, as a whole, is well on its way to become the smart city which we all want it to become.