Yahoo Japan has jumped into the Wi-Fi hotspot business and begun offering its 6.3 million registered users in Japan access to a nationwide wireless LAN network.
The “Yahoo Wireless LAN Spot” service relies on the hotspot network built by sister company Softbank Telecom, which currently offers approximately 3,500 access points throughout the country. Many of the access points are located in cafes, railway stations and hotels.
The service is available to users holding a “Yahoo Premium” membership to the portal, which costs 294 yen (US$2.50) per month and brings with it access to a number of members-only services including bidding and selling on the company’s leading auction site. The company has 6.3 million such members, said Masaki Hanyu, a spokesman for Yahoo Japan in Tokyo.
Yahoo Premium users signing up now will get free access until June next year, when it will cost an additional 210 yen on top of the premium membership. In June, non-members will also be able to sign up for the service for 525 yen per month, which is slightly more than the combined cost of the membership and members-only price.
Yahoo Japan already offers its name to a hotspot service, but that’s available only as an option to customers signing up for Softbank BB’s “Yahoo BB” broadband service. The new service announced on Tuesday doesn’t require subscription to a wired broadband provider.
Softbank Telecom is a subsidiary of Softbank, which is a major shareholder in Yahoo Japan.
-Martyn Williams, IDG News Service (Tokyo Bureau)
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