Google announced that it will shut down the free Wi-Fi service across 400 railway stations in India. The program “Google Station” launched in 2015 offers free Wi-Fi to millions of users across India and the World including Thailand, South Africa, Brazil, Indonesia, Vietnam, Mexico, and the Philippines.
As Mobile data becomes cheaper in India, there is no need for free Wi-Fi as mobile data prices are reduced by 95% in India in the last five years as per the report of TRAI. It becomes difficult for Google to scale the business. Google had also tried to monetize the Wi-Fi program by Ads but as the cheap 4G services expanded, the necessity of free Wi-Fi reduced.
India, specifically now has among the cheapest mobile data per GB in the world, with mobile data prices having reduced by 95 per cent in the last 5 years, as per TRAI in 2019.Caesar Sengupta, Vice President, Payments and Next Billion Users, Google
In June 2018, Google Stations had over 8 million monthly station users with an average of 350MB data consumptions.
Google worked with RailTel in India to serve free Wi-Fi to 400 stations. RailTel offers Wi-Fi to 5,600 Railway Stations in India. RailTel spokesperson told Tech Crunch that their services will remain to continue in all those 400 stations Meanwhile Google spokesperson confirmed to Business Insider that in South Africa, they would transfer the operations to ThinkWifi who will work independently now.