According to official information, MTNL will not be offering any WiFi connection as a new, or a standalone service. Instead, anyone who wants to make use of the WiFi service will have to either use the landline account details of someone else, or get one connection in case he or she does not already have one.
According to MTNL officials, the service is likely to be available in several food courts in Mumbai and Delhi, and in places like Cafe Coffee Day, malls, railway stations etc..
Anyone wishing to use MTNL’s WiFi service will have to authenticate the session by providing landline account details or a password. Usage will be restricted to pre-authorized devices only, and will not be open to new devices without pre-authorization.
Authorization can be obtained only for a maximum of 10 devices for a single landline account. Each device will require a rental of about Rs 50 per month. All the data used will be added to the account of the landline holder.
The service, to be launched in about three months in Delhi and Mumbai, will not have ‘handover’ capability. In other words, if the user moves from one WiFi hotspot to another, it is most likely that he or she will have to sign in again, though this part is still being worked out.
MTNL has already started testing the service. The software backend for the service has been provided by C-DOT, a government agency.
Restricting the service to its existing landline users is likely to lead to disappointment among potential users. But MTNL says it is not looking at the service as an independent revenue driver, but as a growth accelerator. In addition, it will also help the company deal with the stringent restrictions placed by the government on offering public WiFi services.