Google abandons free Wi-Fi programme - Mobile World Live

Google abandons free Wi-Fi programme

17 FEB 2020

Google revealed plans to close a free public Wi-Fi service, citing increased user access to affordable mobile service and technical barriers to expanding the initiative, TechCrunch reported.

The Google Station programme, which launched in January 2016, offers free Wi-Fi access at train stations and other public venues in nine countries: Brazil, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria, the Philippines, South Africa, Thailand and Vietnam.

As of June 2019, Google said more than 10 million people around the globe were using the service.

Caesar Sengupta, Google’s VP of Payments and its Next Billion Users initiative, told TechCrunch it hit problems including a variety of “technical requirements and infrastrcture” in the countries where the service was offered, which restricted its ability to expand the scheme.

He added falling mobile data costs reduced the need for programmes like Google Station to provide internet access in emerging markets.

The executive said Google will wind down the service this year, transitioning existing sites into the hands of partner providers in each country.

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Diana Goovaerts

Diana is Mobile World Live's US Editor, reporting on infrastructure and spectrum rollouts, regulatory issues, and other carrier news from the US market. Diana came to GSMA from her former role as Editor of Wireless Week and CED Magazine, digital-only...

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