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Huawei and Airtel offer free Wi-Fi on Easy Cab

By Devesh Gupta , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Digital | July 05, 2013
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The campaign enables people to access Wi-Fi facilities while they travel in cabs.

While free Wi-Fi facilities at coffee shops, five-star hotels and campuses are almost commonplace, Huawei Devices has now launched free Wi-Fi services for travellers on Easy Cabs in Delhi and NCR. The data card manufacturer, through an agreement with Bharti Airtel (which provides 3G internet services) and Easy Cabs, will run the campaign for a month.

Onground campaign by Huawei Device

Onground campaign by Huawei Device

Anand Narang

Huawei has placed its device, Wi-Fi data card E355, in the cigarette lighter of the cabs, using an adapter. Internet services can be accessed by any traveller on his/her laptop, iPad, phone or any other device using a password provided to the driver of the cab. Hundred vehicles equipped with the facility have been launched for the initiative.

The brand has also bought advertising space both inside and outside the cabs. The creative is designed by Interactive Bees. Airtel is providing the service free of cost to promote its high speed 3G internet services. Huawei Devices aims to engage nearly one lakh people by the end of the campaign, at an estimated cost of about Rs 10 lakh.

Speaking about the idea behind the campaign, Anand Narang, director, marketing, Huawei Devices India, says, "Our idea has two parts, one to clear people's doubts that our dongle/data cards can be used not just with a laptop but can be plugged to a switchboard at home, to a cigarette lighter in a car, gaming devices and other things; and secondly, it enables multiple users, unlike the usual data cards that allow single users."

Huawei's E355 device was launched six months ago and is priced at Rs 2,900 in the retail market. The company claims that it is cost efficient as it has the Wi-Fi capability which allows multiple users. The user can also switch operators depending upon their requirement of internet plans. The company claims it to be the first of its kind device sold in India.

This is the first campaign by the organisation and aims to engage with people through social media and a series of on ground initiatives. It has also roped in author Chetan Bhagat as its brand ambassador.

Talking about the marketing challenges that Huawei Devices faces for E355, Narang says, "We have three challenges - placement, proposition and creation of an innovative strategy. Firstly, how to get it placed in the retail stores so that people have access to it. Many retailers find it costly without actually realising its benefits. Secondly, communicating to people that the device enables five users at a time to use the Internet, making it a much better product than usual data cards and thirdly, designing an innovative strategy such as the Easy Cab campaign where we can engage with as many people as possible."

Huawei Devices has over 65 per cent share in the data card market in India. In FY 2012-13, the company sold 3.5- 4 million dongles in India. The company produces a range of Wi-Fi data cards priced at different costs.

Huawei has partnered with Flipkart to make the product available in more than 200 cities and towns. Other online channels selling E355 data card are Homeshop18, Snapdeal and Tradus, along with 2,000 offline stores. The Huawei dongle is also available at select Airtel retail stores.

Huawei Devices is a subsidiary of Huawei Technologies. It serves 45 of the world's top 50 telecom operators with revenues exceeding US$ 28 bn. Its products are available in more than 140 countries. The company is headquartered in China. The Indian arm of Huawei was launched in 2001-02 and sells products such as data cards, smartphones, feature phones and tablets. It has its R&D centre in Bengaluru and employs more than 2,000 engineers.

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