Google shuts down free WiFi service at Indian Railway Stations
New Delhi : Google on Monday announced that they are shutting down their free WiFi service at the Indian Railway stations, claiming that it has become hard to sustain the business model with better and affordable mobile internet packs.
As we look to the next phase of enabling access, it’s clear that since we started five years ago, getting online has become much simpler and cheaper. Mobile data plans have become more affordable and mobile connectivity is improving globally. India, specifically now has among the cheapest mobile data per GB in the world, with mobile data prices having reduced by 95% in the last 5 years, as per TRAI in 2019. Today, Indian users consume close to 10 GB of data, each month, on average. And similar to what the Indian government did, several governments and local entities have kicked off their own initiatives to provide easier, cost-effective access to the internet for everyone,” said the company in a blog post.
“In addition to this changed context, the challenge of varying technical requirements and infrastructure among our partners across countries has also made it difficult for Station to scale and be sustainable, especially for our partners. And when we evaluate where we can truly make an impact in the future, we see greater need and bigger opportunities in building products and features tailored to work better for the next billion user markets,” it added.
Google had launched the plan way back in September 2015 and was extended to around 400 railway stations to provide free WiFi service. The company used RailTel’s large-scale network to provide the connectivity. Google successfully completed the project in June 2018.
According to data shared by Google in 2018, Google Station had close to 8 million monthly active users across 400 stations. The data showed the consumption was much higher in tier 2 cities while average data consumption stood at 350MB.
All thanks to Reliance Jio, the internet connectivity has improved drastically and more people are relying on the mobile data than the access to free WiFi, leading Google to make a decision on their service.