India is becoming increasingly switched on to the potential of Wi-Fi, OpenSignal has found in a new study. The mobile analytics company notes that while the focus revolves around the evolution of 4G networks, WiFi has not received the same amount of interest in India. However, with the implementation of public WiFi networks, the country seems to be catching up big time.
The report highlights the government plan to cover some 2,50,000 Panchayats and 5000 railway stations with public WiFi networks within the next two years. As the smartphone penetration is growing rapidly, the government seems an incentive in offering wireless connectivity in locations like railway stations. In its latest State of Mobile Networks, OpenSignal observed that India had a substantial improvement in 4G availability but Wi-Fi connectivity among mobile users is still relatively low.
With a renewed focus on Wi-Fi, there is a spike in the number of Wi-Fi users connecting at home or at work. The report adds that the role of publicly-accessible Wi-Fi is becoming more and more important as data use increases. The data released by OpenSignal for 90 day period from March 1, 2018 shows that among four biggest mobile operators, Vodafone users spend the most time connected to WiFi networks. It was followed by Airtel, Idea Cellular and Reliance Jio.
India’s WiFi connectivity is growing but it falls short of 50 percent WiFi connectivity measured in the US. The reason behind low penetration of WiFi networks is limited reach of home broadband. “In Europe in particular, large numbers of subscribers buy their mobile, broadband, and TV services from one operator. But this business model is simply not affordable for most Indians, so the operators have largely chosen to concentrate on mobile as opposed to fixed-line networks,” OpenSignal notes in its report.
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In the next few months, the WiFi penetration could see an exponential jump with the introduction of Reliance JioGigaFiber home broadband services. With the entry of Jio, the home broadband connections are expected to become more affordable while 4G coverage gets even better. The report states that more and more mobile users will start offloading their data needs to WiFi networks in the coming months.