Singapore residents and tourists can now enjoy easier access to WiFi hotspots with a new automatic login feature which started on 1 April.
The new enhancement is part of ongoing efforts by the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) to improve the user experience of Wireless@SG, a free public Wi-Fi service that offers Internet access speeds of up to 2Mbps.
Dubbed EAP-SIM, this new SIM card-based login feature offers users an ‘always on’ experience by allowing them to automatically connect to any Wireless@SG hotspot using a supported device with a local SIM card.
This means new and existing users of Wireless@SG no longer need to sign up for the service or enter any credentials to access the Internet at any Wireless@SG hotspot.
Wireless@SG users can easily configure their supported mobile devices to make use of this new login feature by following the connection guide available from the IDA web site.
Visitors in Singapore will benefit from the improvements, too. From June 2014, visitors can register for a free account at any Wireless@SG hotspot and receive their login details through SMS messages sent to their foreign mobile numbers. Alternatively, visitors can buy a local prepaid SIM card from M1 and StarHub to log on to Wireless@SG via the new SIM-based login feature.
This will enhance the travel experience of smartphone-toting visitors, who are increasingly using their devices as travel guides to discover new sights and find their way around Singapore.
Speaking at the launch of the Next Phase of Wireless@SG, Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for Communications and Information, said: “These enhancements are timely. The pervasive cellular network and presence of Wi-Fi hotspots have paved the way for service providers to roll out location-based and context-driven services to consumers and businesses.”
To support the expected growth in demand for free public Wi-Fi services, the IDA, with the support of Wireless@SG operators and venue owners, will roll out more hotspots progressively.
By 2015, the IDA will double the total number of hotspots to 10,000. This will be further doubled to 20,000 by 2016.
Khoong Hock Yun, IDA Assistant Chief Executive, Infrastructure and Services Development Group, said: “Singaporeans have become increasingly Internet savvy and at ease with the mobile lifestyle. Since the launch of Wireless@SG in 2006, usage of the service has increased six-fold, and now stands at nearly 32 hours per user per month”.
“The new SIM card-based login feature will provide easy access to Wireless@SG and increase usage of wireless services among consumers. In addition, small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) can tap on Wireless@SG to support their IT needs and improve productivity through business applications offered by Wireless@SG operators,” he added.
From June 2014, enterprises can look forward to standardised business applications such as data analytics and targeted advertising solutions from Wireless@SG operators that ride on the same public-facing Wireless@SG network. Such standard IT solutions can be rolled out quickly and at a lower cost.
Khoong said: “This will help Singapore companies become more competitive, while providing more free Wireless@SG hotspots for the public”.
SMEs that are keen to offer Wireless@SG services at their premises can apply for a one-time subsidy capped at $2,400 from IDA to offset the cost of wireless equipment. IDA will provide more details on how SMEs can apply for the subsidy at a later date.