In line with the growth of Wi-Fi as an access technology that is helping operators meet growing data demands from their customers, Ozone Networks, India’s public neutral Wi-Fi provider, has signed a ‘Small Cell as a Service’ agreement with global telecoms equipment provider Ericsson to provide a neutral carrier-grade Wi-Fi network across India.
Ericsson offers Small Cell as a Service with a variety of different business models to suit environments such as connected venues, connected streets and connected enterprises. This deal is an example of the connected venue application, as Ozone’s Wi-Fi network will serve restaurants, cafés, shops and malls.
Sanjeev Sarin, Chief Executive Officer at Ozone, says: “In today’s world, consumers like to be connected at all times, which means that network capacity becomes an extremely important factor. Deployment of Ericsson’s Small Cell as a Service offering will enable us to better manage consumer expectations in ultra-dense environments. The partnership will also ensure that Ozone is able to establish the neutral Wi-Fi model in India, which will help the Indian Government make the right to internet access a reality for every Indian.”
In the first stage of the project, Ericsson will provide Ozone with 30,000 Wi-Fi access points and network management nodes and tools, as well as a variety of options for monetizing the Wi-Fi network. These include opportunities for offering telecommunications operators the chance to reduce the data burden on their network by utilizing the neutral Wi-Fi network to carry some of the traffic.
Chris Houghton, Head of Region India at Ericsson, says: “Small Cell as a Service is an innovative offering that enables operators to increase network capacity in environments where it isn’t practical to build parallel networks. Our ability to plan, design and operate networks in all types of environments enables us to propose a package of services that is customized to meet any customer’s needs. In this particular project, we are discussing a variety of options that Ozone can use to monetize its network, including the possibility of data-offload agreements with other operators.”
Ericsson will provide Wi-Fi technology based on an as-a-Service model, and manage it according to a service level agreement for a period of five years.
Ericsson launched Small Cell as a Service at this year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. With this offering, Ericsson provides small cell technology, designs, plans, builds and optimizes networks, and then manages them on behalf of its customers, based on long-term as-a-Service contracts. Ericsson has a comprehensive portfolio of carrier-grade Wi-Fi products that can be utilized to reduce deployment and troubleshooting time while collating valuable network statistics, trends and usage information.