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Alphabet Offers Free Public Wi-Fi at Indian Railway Stations

On Friday, Alphabet Inc.GOOGL rolled out free, high-speed Wi-Fi service in India's Mumbai Central Station.

This is part of the search giant's plan to launch Wi-Fi at 400 railway stations across the country, to expand its presence in the sub-continent.

Being offered in partnership with the Indian Railways and its telecom wing, Railtel, passengers at Mumbai Central station will be able to access the Wi-Fi network on their phone and two other devices. The only condition is that it has to be an Indian mobile number.

Initially, Wi-Fi will be full-speed allowing users to stream HD videos too. However, after the first hour, it will slow down to let more people access the Internet.

In the beginning, the service will be free but it isn't clear whether it will remain so in the long run. Per Alphabet, "the long-term goal will be making this self-sustainable to allow for expansion to more stations and places".

Only time will tell whether the company will set a time limit on free Internet usage or look to other revenue models.

Being hailed as the "largest public Wi-Fi project in the world" by Alphabet, it is estimated that 10 million people will be able to access the Internet through the free Wi-Fi deployed at 100 train stations in the first phase.

Last September, when Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the California Campus, CEO Sundar Pichai announced that the company would set up Wi-Fi in Indian railway stations.

Per the announcement, 100 of India's busiest train stations will get the service in 2016, followed by 300 in the next phase. After Mumbai, Alphabet will roll out the service in the cities of Allahabad, Jaipur, Patna and Ranchi.

Alphabet currently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

Investors may consider stocks such as Mercadolibre, Inc. MELI , eBay Inc. EBAY and Groupon, Inc. GRPN . While Mercadolibre sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), eBay and Groupon have the same Zacks Rank as Alphabet.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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