Bluetown is Denmark-based global IT company that provides low-cost, sustainable Wi-Fi solutions to connect people in rural areas of the world. Through BSNL, Bluetown is deploying its innovative and sustainable Wi-Fi hotspots in remote, rural locations.
Bluetown’s India Managing Director Satya N Gupta, who is a leading expert on Information, Communication and Technology (ICT), Telecom Regulation, Cyber Security and Internet Governance, talks about his company’s strategy for India…
Give us a brief background and about Bluetown’s work in India?
Bluetown is product development startup headquarted in Copenhagen (Denmark) and has a fully-owned subsidiary in India. The company develops innovative Wi-Fi hotspots which are tailor-made for the rural and remote areas. India has a large number of rural population, in fact 70% population lives in rural and remote areas. We have 6.5 lakh villages.
There is some connectivity by way of 2G or 3G but they don’t have the real broadband speed which are available in urban areas. We work to bridge this gap. By using our solution, a village can be converted to a Wi-Fi hotspot and we have named our solution — ‘Everything on the Tower’. It does not need any shelter or any room you just put it everything on the tower. Put that box on the tower and people can get Wi-Fi access and connect to the Internet. We have deployed our solutions in Africa and Latin America and soon we will bring it to India.
What is Bluetown’s strategy for India?
We have a very innovate solution strategy which works on 5L — It is low cost (works on free band of 2.5 Ghz), low power (only 20 Watts of power required), low maintenance, local control and local content. It is a unique thing. We bring everything on the tower including the Cloud. Now a days content resides in Cloud but in our solution content resides in tower.
We work on ‘Blue Ocean strategy’, which means you don’t compete with the competing company. We went to work in eastern India as nobody was there to work. We don’t want to compete with big operators. Where no one works, Bluetown works.
We also work on the principal of value innovation. We reduce the cost and increase the value, and everyone cannot do this. This is our USP. For example, our base station has been designed to operate under harsh conditions and is 100% solar powered.
What are Bluetown’s future investment plans in India?
We plan to invest $80 million in next three years to create around 15,000 hotspots with BSNL. In addition, we are also acquiring our Virtual Network Operator license, which will enable us to become a broadband operator in India.
In India, we are partner of BSNL in three states and a Union Territory– Bihar, Jharkhand, Assam and Andamans. We provide hotspot as a service, which is a new concept. It enables our partner operator, in this case it is BSNL, to provide broadband access to the villagers by using the existing infrastructure of GSM networks which include tower, power supply and everything else put in a box and deployed there. We might soon get to work in Odisha and West Bengal as nobody wants to go there and work.
Please throw some light on Bluetown’s collaboration with Marca Tel to take digitisation to rural India?
Marca Tel are our national distributor. If we want to do system sales or manage service sales, they take our solution and provide it to the operator at their own investment. They will procure the solution from us and do further investment. Marca Tel have already brought some demo units from us and deployed it also.
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