Demand for Wi-Fi network equipment, such as routers and mobile hotspot dongles, have seen tremendous increase in recent times due to professionals working from home in light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. A report by The Economic Times has suggested that there has been a surge of over 60 percent in the demand for Wi-Fi routers, dongles and new connections, as more individuals continue to shift to a work from home model as more offices are put in lockdown to prevent the spread of COVID-19. This has also led to a burgeoning industry of rentals for network equipment as uncertainty prevails over how long would the lockdown continue.
The ET report suggests that while telecom operators such as Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio have not hiked prices, local vendors and retailers dealing with internet dongles are selling the equipment at a premium of about Rs 100 to Rs 250, in comparison to previous prices. Sources quoted by the report suggest that stocks of popular equipment providers such as Asus, Netgear, Reliance Jio and Tenda are nearing the end in shops, leading many to believe that a price hike is just around the corner.
Another source in the report stated that there has been a clear growth in the demand for renting dongles, which are now being provided in the scale of Rs 50 per day, or Rs 1,400 per month, for a JioFi 4G dongle with a pre-activated SIM card and unlimited data. Further sources claimed that prices may be hiked by broadband providers who cater to existing users in cities across India, as businesses look to cash in on the demand even as other industries such as aviation and tourism continue to face severe financial strain.
With work from home protocol being established at various areas across India and abroad, it will be interesting to see if there is a noticeable change in internet connection tariffs by operators, as well as any fluctuation in prices of network equipment such as routers and dongles.