Bharti Airtel might deploy WiFi hotspots for Google’s station WiFi service

Bharti Airtel is holding discussions with Google to deploy WiFi hotspots for the US internet major's service to provide WiFi service for railway stations and other public places in India.

If consented, the move might help India's leading telecom company improve its broadband experience amidst its struggle to retain subscribers because of intense competition after Jio’s commercial launch.

"Airtel is having discussions with Google around Station WiFi...these are initial discussions," a person familiar with the matter told ET. Another source said that Airtel is planning for new partnerships around WiFi so that it can overcome challenges related to monetisation and ecosystem.

It was in this direction that Airtel recently signed a partnership with Facebook to deploy 20,000 WiFi hotspots.

"Companies like Google and Facebook can help telcos overcome challenges related to software, as their existing software is not scalable. By partnering with telcos, companies like Google and Facebook are taking away some cost by providing software," said a source.


In an earlier interaction with ET, Google India's country head (connectivity) Gulzar Azad had said, "We are looking at more partnerships around Google Station platform. A specific initiative is partnerships with system integrators. Larsen & Toubro is one we are in discussions with. Interactions are also on with ISPs. Some will translate into partnerships."

Google recently won its first city WiFi deal in collaboration with companies such as IBM, Larsen & Toubro and RailTel from Pune Smart City Development Corporation.