Commuters board suburban trains during the evening rush hour at Churchgate railway station in Mumbai February 25, 2015. India will increase investment in its overloaded railway network to 8.5 trillion rupees ($137 billion) over the next five years, the government said on Thursday, promising to modernise existing tracks and introduce faster trains.Picture taken February 25, 2015. REUTERS/Shailesh Andrade (INDIA - Tags: TRANSPORT BUSINESS POLITICS TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY) - RTR4R7V0
State-run RailTel Corporation (RailTel) has started monetising its WiFi facilities at railway stations by launching high-speed paid WiFi at over 4,000 railway stations across the country. The scheme is expected to bring additional revenue of Rs 15 crore per annum to the company.
In pre-COVID times, more than 2.9 crore people were using the service monthly. Once the situation normalises and footfall at stations becomes regular, a revenue of Rs 10-15 crore annually is expected from the paid WiFi, the company said in a statement.
In addition, the company also expects revenue of over Rs 60 crore from its content on demand (COD) initiative.
Last year, RailTel had selected Margo Network, a subsidiary of Zee Entertainment as the Digital Entertainment Service Provider (DESP) for providing Content on Demand Service in trains and stations. CoD will be available in all Premium, Express, Mail and Suburban trains of Indian Railways.
The WiFi service is currently available at 5,950 stations across the country and WiFi at the station premises are accessible to anyone with a smartphone and an active connection (after verification through OTP sent via sms).
RailTel has launched prepaid plans for its Railwire WiFi at over 4,000 railway stations across India. Going forward, a passenger can use 30 min free WiFi per day at 1 mbps speed at these stations. For using the WiFi facility at a higher speed of up to 34mbps, the user needs to choose a plan with a higher speed by paying a nominal fee.
The plans include Rs 10 for 5GB per day, Rs. 15 for 10 GB per day, Rs. 20 for 10 GB for five days, Rs. 30 for 20 GB for five days, Rs. 40 for 20 GB for 10 days, Rs. 50 for 30 GB for 10 days and Rs. 70 for 60 GB for 30 days.
The plans have been designed to offer flexible choice to the user as per their need. A number of payment options like net banking, wallet, credit card can be used to purchase plans online.
Talking about the launch, Shri Puneet Chawla, CMD/ RailTel said, “We did a detailed trial run of Prepaid WiFi at 20 Stations in Uttar Pradesh and based on the response and detailed testing, we have launched this plan at over 4000 more stations across India. We intend to launch the prepaid plans for all the stations with our RailWire WiFi this financial year”.