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Speed Fetch app claims to be faster than 4G


Speed Fetch app claims to be faster than 4GNEW DELHI: 4G and 3G could well be passe if a new mobile application manages to deliver on its promise. Speed Fetch is offering free downloadable video content through Wi-Fi hot spots across the country at speeds up to 60Mbps, or higher than what 4G and 3G mobile connections offer today.

For example, a 100MB video can be downloaded in less than 30 seconds on Ozone Wi-Fi network from the app, compared to one minute on 4G and nine minutes on 3G. While the company promises speeds up to 60Mbps in ideal situations, executives said actual speeds can vary between 15 and 30Mbps depending on the customer's location, signal strength at that location and the number of people using WiFi network at that time.

But the app does not promise just faster downloading speed. It also offers free content ranging from games, movies, Hollywood and Bollywood gossip, cookery shows and religious videos.

Delhi-based startup Speed Fetch has tied up with Wi-Fi networks provider Ozone Networks for propagating its service. It is also in talks with investors to raise funds for expanding the scope of its services.

"Speed and free content set Speed Fetch apart," said founder Dipank Sharma, who launched the app two months ago. "It works through micro-caching where content resides on a Speed Fetch box, in a Wi-Fi hotspot location, which allows for faster downloads. Since the download is via Wi-Fi, the content is free of charge," said Sharma, who has invested $2 million in the startup till date.

Caching refers to storing web files for quick reuse later. "These speeds are real, but the challenge is the backhaul - fibre in the ground and backbone network - which requires a lot of capital investment (from Wi-Fi provider)," said Prashant Singhal, global telecom practice head at consulting firm EY.

Speed Fetch is banking on the idea that free content on faster data speeds will spur data consumption among consumers in India that are increasingly using smartphones. The startup will earn revenue from video advertising, ad engines and advertising space on the Speed Fetch app.

Ozone's Wi-Fi zones allow users to download the content provided by Speed Fetch for free for a day regardless of the usage. However, consumers will have to pick up hourly, daily or weekly data usage packs after the first 20 minutes, in case they want to use the internet. Sharma is in talks with investors to raise an undisclosed amount of funds by diluting 26% to 49% equity.

The company plans to use the funds to expand operations to 20,000 locations with access to 50 million consumers. In the short term, it plans to expand operations to 5,000 locations across India by the year end and reach a customer base of two million.

Downloadable content or offline access to internet is becoming popular, more so since 3G and 4G data plans are still in the higher reaches while most Indians have low disposable incomes. According to UCBrowser, 85% used the popular mobile browser to download content, followed by accessing Facebook. Internet firm Google recognized the trend when it launched You-Tube offline in December last year.
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