Maxima Digital, a Russian Wi-Fi major, is aiming to deploy on-board public Wi-Fi services across seven metro route lines covering nearly 350 route kilometres to provide free mobile Internet services to close to 30 lakh daily passengers at a spend of $100 million (little over Rs 700 crore) in a year’s time.
“The memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) is for seven lines, and we hope to finish the next lines within the year time,” said Farhad Rustamov, acting chief executive at Maxima Digital.
The daily average ridership was 22.85 lakh in 2018-19, according to DMRC data. Rustamov said that the company would be investing $100 million in deploying Wi-Fi infrastructure, with service offering in the license-free 5150 – 5875 MHz frequency range.
In 2018, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), in a notification, has allowed de-licencing of 5150-5250 Mhz, 5250-5350 Mhz and 5725-5875 Mhz bands primarily to provide Wi-Fi services in the country.
The Russian company recently unveiled free Wi-Fi services at Delhi’s Airport Express line connecting New Delhi railway station to Terminal – 3 of the Indira Gandhi international airport through 24 kilometres of fiber-based network with 44 base stations.
The initiative, according to the company, is completely free for DMRC and does not involve the use of any budgetary funds with Wi-Fi not included in the fare.
“This is our unique competence to build the most efficient monetisation platforms, allowing, riders to enjoy free Wi-Fi. Our network allows providing both infrastructural products and efficient ad channels,” the top executive said.
The Russian Wi-Fi major is expecting a payback period of 4 to 5 years. The company’s Indian arm is putting the entire Wi-Fi infrastructure including hardware and transport layer, and the consortium included Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and TechnoSatComm India, a Mumbai-based systems engineering firm.