Millions of commuters on the Mumbai rail network are in for a pleasant surprise as they would soon be enjoying faster Internet on their smartphones courtesy of innovative technology.
Cloudextel tied up with Railtel on a pilot project to offer a shared RAN or Radio Access Network solution at no less than nine stations between Churchgate and Dadar (Western Railway).
Kunal Bajaj, founder, and chief executive of Cloudextel, said equipment has already been fixed up at the Mumbai Central railway station. He even asserted the results were extremely satisfactory with higher data speed.
Bajaj added that for now, Airtel and Vi subscribers are the chosen ones to be availing of the services without paying extra. They would not even have to create a new login as is needed to log on or gain access to a public Wi-Fi network.
The company installs a single base station on a railway platform. Then to help with the connectivity, several small units are fixed across the station. According to Mr. Bajaj, an investment to the tune of Rs. 1 crore is needed for a spot like Mumbai Central.
He told that Cloudextel shall commit to certain parameters as far as service delivery is concerned and the telco ought to pay irrespective of the consumers served or data downloaded.
A subsidiary of Bombay Gas Company, Cloudextel, feels confident in expanding the project to all suburban stations within the next 1 to 1.5 years. They are also contemplating installing similar infrastructure along the tracks for enhanced connectivity while commuting.
Mr. Bajaj intends to pitch this shared RAN solution to metro stations, airports, and top-notch commercial real estate projects as well in the future.
The current project is being funded by the parent company. It is looking at an investment of up to Rs. 400 crores over the course of five years depending on the business growth. Mr. Bajaj hints at seeking external funding as well in the future depending on the project expansion.