(At Elitecore, we presently have over 14+ case studies of service provider Wi-Fi deployment across different countries: India, Middle-East and Africa, South East Asia and APAC regions. One of our operator clients in India is betting big on the consumer Wi-Fi market as an alternate access technology towards complementing 3G-4G networks. We recently put ourselves in the shoes of our client’s potential walk-in subscribers at a McDonald’s outlet to understand how Elitecore Wi-Fi SMP is supporting their ambitious plans to enhance the penetration of Wi-Fi across major cities of India)
Not very long ago, getting consistent and reliable Wi-Fi in Indian cities used to be quite difficult. As a travelling customer, you were lucky if you could do meaningful and substantial work using the free, complementary Wi-Fi provided by cafes, restaurants and retail joints. Especially with rush hour and peak data traffic, accessing even basic email was difficult, forget about Skype-calling and HD video.
No amount of money could get your laptop, tablet or smartphone to connect with on-premise Wi-Fi as the whole network discovery and latching-on process was so confusing and complicated. Unless you carried a USB data card or bought one of your carrier’s expensive data roaming plans, getting ubiquitous internet-on-the-move was impossible.
However, the above scene is changing very rapidly. Recently, we visited a McDonald’s outlet in a major Indian city which lies in our operator client’s nationwide hotspot network. Here are the interesting highlights of our visit.
1. When we walked into the McDonald’s premise with an Android device, getting free add-on Wi-Fi was to be naturally expected. However, what impressed us most was the hassle-free experience towards the network discovery process for Wi-Fi. The device automatically discovers and connects you to Wi-Fi in less than a second. Using Elitecore Wi-Fi SMP’s location-aware services, the operator can pin down user location to a very granular level.
2. The next step was to open the browser redirecting you to the operator client’s captive portal. Using Wi-Fi SMP’s smart connectivity features, the client can quickly connect using captive portal-based authentication for Android support (it also supports iOS). All we did was enter our 10-digit mobile number generating a numeric voucher ID which was delivered via SMS. You get only 20 minutes of free Wi-Fi which is enough time to finish a McDonald’s meal. The operator is smart enough to ensure you don’t register multiple times using one mobile number. Elitecore Wi-Fi SMP’s time-based control through AAA must have played a role in this.
3. The complentary Wi-Fi was fast enough for browser services like email, instant messenger (Yahoo) and multiple browsers open at once. However, it prevented you from enjoying videos on Youtube. Did that mean Elitecore Wi-Fi SMP’s bandwidth throttling feature was spoiling the fun? The free Wi-Fi speed was still not good enough. We wanted more!
4. Having had our fill of free Wi-Fi, we decided to log out and check the paid Wi-Fi facility. All you had to do was go to the browser again and register yourself as a new user. A clear outcome of Elitecore Wi-Fi SMP’s revenue-generator module, the operator was able to implement different data plan options as below.
5. While a Bronze plan sets you back by a measly Rs.25, it remains valid for only an hour or so and you can download 150 MB data. There were much higher value Silver and Gold plans with up to 3 GB data download and 15 days validity. The personalized speed was terrific and we were able to watch an entire movie video with no interruptions.
6. You could also choose to come back later to McDonald’s using the same registration details and continue your data plan right from where you had started as long as the validity remained. The best part is the operator allows you to use your self-created, access privileges at multiple participating hotspots spread across different cities of India.
Enjoying the high speed internet, we realized the huge win-win potential for such an arrangement between operators and location-owners. If more users like us decide to spend time away from homes for the brilliant Wi-Fi access you can get, how much would those footfalls turn into revenues for both the operator as well as McDonald’s. Something that was clearly evident:
WI-Fi has finally arrived in India!