RailTel To Monetise Wi-Fi Network At More Than 6,000 Stations


RailTel has initiated a Wi-Fi monetisation project covering more than 6,108 railway stations across the country where free public Wi-Fi network has already been made available by RailTel.

For the project, RailTel, a railways public sector undertaking, has signed a five-year agreement with a consortium led by 3i InfoTech Ltd, a Mumbai-based global information technology company.

This is India’s first multi-year commercial agreement to monetise captive customers of public Wi-Fi networks through collaborative efforts.

RailTel’s public Wi-Fi network is now available at 6,108 railway stations across India and records more than 1.1 million unique users per day. With this collaborative deal, station Wi-Fi is set to provide an evolving digital experience to Wi-Fi users.

Under the contract, the revenue will be generated by monetising Wi-Fi footfalls in one of the world’s largest integrated public Wi-Fi networks through targeted advertisements and extending multimedia infotainment services for railway passengers.

As per the contract, 3i Infotech-led consortium will pay Rs 14 crore per year or 40 per cent of revenue earned (whichever is higher) to RailTel.

Revenue will be largely led by advertising and supported by content/services-based revenue and the consolidated revenue potential from the project is expected to be upwards of Rs 250 crore over a five-year period.

With this, public Wi-Fi at railway stations is set to transform the digital experience of passengers.

In addition, 3i Infotech will be launching a mobile “Super App” to ease the logins, offer many infotainment subscriptions, increase traction with consumers manifold and multiply user base which will provide right platform to digital advertisers and marketers for mass-market, regional and hyper-local advertisements.

Super App aims to become one of the largest apps in terms of users, usage and time spent, in India. Multi-fold increase in users and usage has potential to attract tour planners and taxi aggregators to offer to rail passengers, going forward.

The rich infotainment services of Super App aim to engage users beyond the railway stations through customised content packs, e-ticketing, railway related information and other value-added services.

Super App will also have the potential to bring railway passengers and railway operational units closer for a day-to-day grievance management platform with measurable parameters apart from value added digital services like mapping of porters, food suppliers/aggregators, emergency medical services etc.

Under this contract, 3i InfoTech-led consortium will also provide edge computing and edge analytics to provide greater flexibility and opportunity to fine tune the contents and advertisements.

Talking about this, RailTel Chairman and Managing Director Sanjai Kumar said, “This public-private partnership on Wi-Fi network monetisation will truly transform the railway passengers’ experience, providing customers a differentiated digital experience.

“Moreover, it will provide an opportunity for advertisers to tap into RailTel’s widespread integrated public Wi-Fi network at railway stations with the largest footfall of Wi-Fi users in the country to deliver customised services and contents. This move will also aid the cause of the Centre’s Digital India mission. It will also help RailTel to enhance its revenue stream.”

Speaking about this agreement, Thompson P Gnanam, managing director and global CEO, 3i Infotech said, “It is going to be an important partnership with RailTel. This is a landmark moment for us and railway passengers, with the sheer scale of digital enablement this project is aimed at.

“This project is a strategic fit towards expanding our edge computing capabilities. Edge Application is the Super App which will be developed by us for the Wi-Fi monetisation project. We hope to get good patronage from advertisers and marketers.”

The other members of the consortium are Forensics Intelligence Surveillance and Security Technologies Private Limited and Yellow Inc.