Tata DOCOMO plans to launch a Wi-Fi dongle which, it hopes, would cater to customers using multiple devices, in direct competition to 3G technology. The new device, to be called Wingle, would be launched next month.
“There are so many consumers who have smartphones as well as tablets and laptops. With a Wingle, they can use high-speed data with a single subscription,” said Aditya Gupta, head of mobility business at Tata Teleservices Maharashtra. The Wingle can also be run by a battery, allowing it to be mobile for heavy mobile data users.
The dual-technology player which offers both GSM as well as CDMA services, plans to leverage its CDMA technology for these services. “The spectrum in the 800-MHz band also gives good indoor coverage, far superior to 3G. And, we can give pan-India services as well. With Wingles, we are taking the battle back to the 3G camp,” said Gupta. The operator has a 40 per cent share in the dongles market. However, it is yet to secure a large pie of the increasing data usage by smartphone consumers, primarily due to constraints in the device ecosystem. Data traffic has been growing tremendously; it increased about 100 per cent in the quarter ended June, compared to a year earlier.
Gupta believes the pie is growing rapidly and the company has a role in it. Many smartphones carry tethering capabilities, allowing these to be used as modems. “We are getting Wingles to attack smartphone customers and multiple device users,” Gupta said.
The company also plans to make its Wi-Fi dongles available in the nine circles in which it owns 3G network. Ten of the towns that would see these launches would be in 3G circles. Tata DOCOMO, which had earlier resorted to a pricing strategy in the voice segment when it entered the GSM business, has no plans to cut prices to bag more data customers. “We will not compete on pricing, though we will be competitively priced,” said Gupta.
The operator is also expanding its portfolio of dongles. It recently launched Tata Docomo Photon Max in Mumbai which offers upto 6.2 mbps speed for Rs 1,699. This forms the phase I of products using Rev B technology. It plans to offer products of higher speeds of 9.3 mbps. The average revenue per user (ARPU) of its dongle customers are 3-4 times that of its other customers. As much as eight% of its total subscribers use dongles.
Tata Docomo is also investing in expanding the network of CDMA business. They are planning to add as many as 225 CDMA sites in two circles of Mumbai and rest of Maharashtra.