Times of India reports that Indian Railways' plans to introduce Wi-Fi facility in 400 category B stations across the country, and SMS alerts as part of the 2015-16 Railway Budget announced on Thursday could provide huge business opportunities to private players, industry and analysts said. Ozone Networks, the largest public Wi-Fi provider in India, said that the size of such an opportunity was immense. "We have already started discussions with the ministry for installing wi-fi in the stations," Sanjeev Sarin, founder of Ozone Networks, told ET. Ozone has over 1500 hot spots across India including the Mumbai airport and McDonald's outlets. Sarin did not share details of investment or a blueprint of the way forward but added that the ministry has also asked the company to install Wi-Fi in two trains, without disclosing details. Companies in the telecom sector including Tata Tele, Vodafone India and MTS that have become active in the Wi-Fi hotspot space over the last few quarters would be equally interested in implementing the government's plan, industry watchers said.
It's high time Indian Railways was modernised. The current railway network system, based on the what the British started in India, is highly politicised and needs proper efficient management. These proposals in the latest railway budget will help but a lot more needs to be done. Narendra Modi will be judged on how he manages to improve infrastructure and transport in India and only a little bit of tinkering here and there will not please the voter at the next general election. These budget proposals will benefit tech companies. The same with India Post which is seeing new opportunities in India's growing e-commerce and m-commerce markets.
Modi likes headlines where some investment in new technology is announced. But unless Modi deals with the underlying management and politics in these public sector businesses little will change. Upgrading technology is not the sole cure for these organisations.