China’s Alibaba Plans to Work with Indian Telcos for Free Wi-Fi
The Chinese e-commerce giant plans to tie-up with Indian telecoms and offer free internet and Wi-Fi soon.
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China’s Alibaba has big plans for India, and no, we’re not talking about its supposed investment in Paytm. The company’s mobile division is reportedly in talks with Indian telcos and internet providers, to offer free internet and Wi-Fi services to the public.
According to reports, Alibaba wants to utilize its UC Web platform to engage with consumers, thereby increasing its presence in the country. The free internet from a Chinese company will have regulatory issues, that can only be cleared, once the model of the supposed service doesn’t violate rules.
Whatever the case, Alibaba needs to make sure that the free internet measure doesn’t end up like Facebook’s Internet.org or Free Basics initiative.
We will definitely look at the opportunity to work together with service providers or even some Wi-Fi providers. We are trying to offer lower cost data to users and better connectivity, even free of cost connectivity.Jack Huang, President - Overseas Business, Alibaba Mobile Business
What Was India’s Problem With (the Not so) Free Basics
It is yet to be decided as to what the net neutrality stands for in India, and where does one draw a line with respect to the whole matter. We’re not sure about the route that Alibaba intends to take here, but prior history gives them enough to make sure they don’t fall into the same trap.
Free internet has been distributed for fun in recent times. Reliance Jio holds the flag for making it happen, while the rest have followed up with plans that deceive into providing free internet.
Alibaba also offers UC News in India, which is a content aggregator for news from various publications. So, if Huang & Co. are talking about offering free internet for their in-house content, then this Alibaba dream will fail to take off even before it even starts.
Also, it will be fascinating to see what the government has to say about a China-based company connecting with millions of internet users, which could put the home ministry under alert.
(Source: Business Insider)
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