Facebook, Airtel Team up to Offer Express Wi-Fi Internet in India

The social networking giant, along with Airtel, will set up over 20,000 internet hotspots across rural India.

Facebook will soon launch in India its Express Wi-Fi service, which will offer users in rural areas internet access through public hotspots. The social media giant has tied up with Bharti Airtel to usher in the service.

Facebook said on Thursday that it has been testing the service since 2015 with 500 internet providers, offering internet through 700 hotspots on a pilot basis across four states: Uttarakhand, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Meghalaya.

And with Airtel now on board, Facebook hopes to expand its network across India.

Facebook StatementBharti Airtel will be launching over 20,000 hotspots which will be deployed over the next few months.

Facebook, though, will be joining hands with other internet service providers (ISPs) as well to roll out Express Wi-Fi.

Express Wi-Fi is Facebook’s comeback bid to offer internet services in in the country after the not-so-successful attempt with Free Basics. With a population of over 1.3 billion and the often poor internet services being provided, India is a tempting market for global players like Google and Facebook.

Facebook StatementExpress Wi-Fi is designed to complement mobile data offerings by providing a low-cost, high bandwidth alternative for getting online and access apps, download and stream content. 

How Express Wi-Fi Works

  • Sign up with an Express Wi-Fi retailer
  • Get a daily, weekly or monthly data pack
  • Connect to the Express Wi-Fi hotspot
  • Register/create an account login
  • Browse or use any app on internet

We don’t know yet the tariff plans for Express Wi-Fi, but what we do know is that the ISPs will have the freedom to fix the prices.

Facebook is the second global player after Google – which has rolled out its railway Wi-Fi service – to offer internet services on-the-go in parts of the country where connectivity is scarce.