Less than two weeks after Singapore’s free Wi-Fi service entered operation, Internet service provider Starhub Internet has decided to stop charging users who use its own Wi-Fi service in Singapore.
Singapore’s free Wi-Fi service, called Wireless@SG, is a government-led project run by three local operators: Singapore Telecommunications (SingTel), QMax Communications, and iCell Network. As part of the Wireless@SG contracts, all three operators must meet subscriber targets set by the government.
Starhub, which runs more 300 hotspots in Singapore as part of its own Wi-Fi service, bid to participate in the Wireless@SG project but was not selected by the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA), the government body that oversees the project.
Starhub previously charged users S$10.50 (US$6.79) per month for unlimited Internet access at its Wi-Fi hotspots in Singapore. From January 2007, users will no longer have to pay for this service, the company said Monday.
In addition, through an agreement with QMax, Starhub’s Wi-Fi users will also be able to access Wireless@SG hotspots, eliminating the need for them to re-register with one of the three operators. The deal means that Wireless@SG users who register with QMax will also be able to access Starhub’s hotspots. But Wireless@SG users who registered with SingTel or iCell will not be able to access them.
Wireless@SG was initially set to enter operation in January 2007, and offer free Internet access in parts of Singapore for two years. The project was extended earlier this month, when IDA announced the service would start on Dec. 1 and operate until the end of 2009 — one year longer than originally planned.
-Sumner Lemon, IDG News Service (Singapore Bureau)
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