Recently Gurugram announced free public Wifi hotspots in the city in partnership with Airtel. In Gurugram, users in select parts of the city will get 30 minutes of free WiFi access. Customers can continue to use the Wi-Fi service after 30 minutes also, but they will to pay after this time limit.
While Airtel users will be charged on their data plan/packs, non-Airtel users can buy online vouchers for extra usage. Airtel customers can connect to the Wi-Fi using the Airtel Hangout app also.
Gurugram and Airtel are not the first in India to offer free public WiFi hotspots. In January, Google’s free public WiFi service at railway stations went live with Mumbai Central. Seven months on, the service has over 1.5 million people users at 19 railway stations.
In Delhi, the AAP government promised 100 per cent WiFi coverage in the national capital, which has not rolled out so fast. IndianExpress has reported in February 2016, the IT department had identified 3000 ‘hot zones’ to provide this free WiFi, but the rollout has taken longer than expected.
Reliance Jio also plans to offer free WiFi hotspots via Jio 4G services. The company provided cricket fans with free high-speed WiFi during the T20 World Cup,and IPL (Indian Premier League) at select stadiums across India.
Here’s a look at the free WiFi spots across some cities in India:
Khan Market and Connaught Place (CP) already have free WiFi spots in place. However, users have complained the WiFi in CP doesn’t work very well. In both, Khan Market and CP, users can register for the free WiFi service for a certain period of time, after which they will be charged.
New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) plans to cover all of Connaught Place, and Karol Bagh market to create free WiFi zones.
Delhi’s Hauz Khas village (HKV), which is filled with party-goers on weekends, also has free-WiFi by TataDocomo. The WiFi is free for the first 20 minutes of login. Re-charge cards are available once the 20 minutes are up.
Many coffee shops and bookstores in Delhi also provide free WiFi service. Major ones are Barista Coffee N-16 in CP, and Oxford Bookstore.
The New Delhi International Airport (international and domestic terminals) have free WiFi for first 30 minutes. But users need a valid Indian mobile number to sign in.
Free WiFi is also available at several metro stations in Delhi including Rajiv Chowk, and Kashmere Gate. Users need to register their mobile number after choosing the Delhi Metro WiFi spot. An OTP is generated, and sent via SMS, which can be used to log-in.
Bangalore was one of the first cities in India to get free Wi-Fi zones. WiFi spots are available at MG Road, Brigade Road and CMH Road. Users can also get free WiFi at Yeshwantpur, Koramangala and Shanthinagar bus stations.
The Gujarat capital has a number of WiFi hotspots. Locations include Gandhi Ashram, Science City, Kankaria Lake and Madhupura market.
In 2014, the Bihar government launched a free WiFi zone between NIT-Patna on Ashok Rajpath to Danapur. This 20-km stretch of free WiFi is the world’s longest corridor of free WiFi connectivity.
Shivaji Park in Mumbai has a free WiFi hotspot. WiFi hotspots are also available at Mumbai Metro stations. RailTel and Google’s high-speed free public Wi-Fi service was first launched at Mumbai Central station.
Mumbai International and Domestic Airports also have free public WiFi.
With 4G evolution being touted as the next big digital step for India, there’s a good chance that free public WiFi access in the country will improve over the coming years. Hopefully more cities and states will be added to the free public WiFi list.