Approximately 100 EasyCabs in New Delhi/NCR are now equipped with Huawei's E-355 Wi-Fi USB modem, enabled with Airtel's 3G SIM cards, to offer customers free Internet access. This promotion runs from June 28 to September 27, according to a press release on Wednesday.
This will allow passengers to use their laptops, tablets, and smartphones on the go, and if anything, should be a great feature for business travelers in New Delhi/NCR travelling to and from Indira Gandhi International Airport.
Although there are no current plans to expand or extend the service with other companies, it's quite possible that other carriers such as Idea or Vodafone could easily jump on the bandwagon and offer similar services. Of course, this would depend on the feasibility on their networks, integration in other cabs, and if there is enough public demand.
With public transport in New Delhi/NCR being not only a popular choice for commuting, but the only way for many, I'm surprised this feature wasn't introduced earlier. In my opinion, introducing similar free Wi-Fi on Delhi Metro would be a beneficial to all commuters who already use their mobile devices. This feature can in fact be implemented as the underground lines and stations do receive cell phone coverage. It's just a matter of public interest and demand from consumers and Indian telecom operators.
Traffic in New Delhi/NCR can be a nightmare at almost any given hour, sometimes blurring the difference between regular traffic and rush hour. EasyCab is smart by taking the initiative in offering this free service to their passengers.
It would be even better if they could offer this service in more than just 100 of their cabs, but it's a strong start, that's for sure. Personally, I wouldn't be surprised that if this pilot project is a success, not only will it become a permanent feature in all of EasyCabs in New Delhi/NCR, but the other metered cab companies, such as MeruCab, will also come on board. Unfortunately, those who still prefer the traditional black and yellow cabs will most likely be out of luck; most still don't have meters to begin with.
Last month, Airtel had tied up with Google to offer free mobile Internet access in India to the Web giant's services such as Gmail, Google+ and Google Search. This was part of Google's Free Zone portal aimed at tapping new users in emerging markets accessing the Internet for the first time over mobile devices.