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Ozone Plans Ubiquitous WiFi in India

Gagandeep Kaur
5/14/2015
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With a slew of initiatives in the pipeline, Indian WiFi service provider Ozone Networks is determined to make Internet services ubiquitous and accessible for ordinary people.

"We are going to deploy WiFi all over the country, like PCOs [public call offices]," says Sanjeev Bobby Sarin, Ozone's founder and CEO, during a conversation with Light Reading. "We are targeting 700-900 million people who cannot afford broadband on their own. They are going to connect to our Internet [WiFi hotspots] because they cannot connect at home."

Ozone has already deployed 6,500 access points, 1,500 of which are public hotspots in 26 different cities, but it aims to reach 1 million hotspots by 2020.

Some 1,000 of the hotspots it already operates form part of a major small cells agreement with Sweden's Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) that will see a total of 30,000 hotspots deployed across India. "It is a very good arrangement for us because collaborating with them [Ericsson] helps us to get big deals, especially in the government sector," says Sarin.

It is not stopping at network rollout, either. Ozone wants to provide content so that customers are persuaded to log in to the network again and again. Key to making this happen is the company's collaboration with Speed Fetch, a micro-caching solution which seeks to provide speedy access to content.

The company already has this service up and running at a few locations. It has also signed content agreements with Pictureworks and Zenga and is in discussion with another content provider called Hungama.

"If a user wants to download a 2.5-hour movie over the standard broadband, it takes 60-90 minutes, but with Speed Fetch it takes five to seven minutes," says Sarin. "And the best part is that there is no broadband cost. So there is no bill shock. The users would need to connect to WiFi, though. This is going be a revolution," says Sarin.

Speed Fetch content is available in three categories, according to Sarin: free, paid and subscription.

Ozone also recently launched an Android app called Ozone Connect, which allows it to record user data. This could be critical for the company, which plans to use analytics for location-based advertising. Ozone claims that footfall across all of its locations amounts to between 42 million and 45 million each month.

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