By Vineetha Menon www.itp.net
Thousands of passengers are linking to the Du WiFi network at Dubai Metro stations every day, the telco revealed today.
Du’s WiFi service has been available on both Dubai Metro stations and trains since its launch on September 9th for AED 10 per hour.
Average broadband speeds at stations can reach 4Mbps, while backhauling to the network through WiMAX sees speeds reach about 2Mbps onboard the trains. Each train has four access points and can easily connect a large number of passengers simultaneously.
Du didn’t reveal WiFi usage specifics but went on to add that it sees a lot of potential for the service to be used by commuters for both professional and entertainment purposes.
“A lot of people are walking into the stations and metro have WiFi enabled devices. We can see from the network that thousands of devices are linking to the network every day – it’s a good indication of the opportunity,” Farid Faraidooni, EVP of Commercial services at Du, told media.
Presently, customers can choose to pay for sessions using credit cards or Du WoW recharge cards, but Faraidooni added that Du customers will soon be able to pay for WiFi using their existing accounts.
“In a few weeks we will also have a third option that will be exclusively for du customers (du mobile and home services customers); they can use their current account to log on to the WiFi and the charges will be charged to their existing account.”
Customers are charged by the second and sessions can be stopped and restarted at customers’ convenience, so long as the validity period and package has not expired.
Du discontinued free public WiFi at various hotspots in malls and coffee shops in Dubai on September 11th and now asks customers to pay for internet access.
“We offer it (WiFi) at the best price in the country for accessing the net and we charge by second, like we charge for most of our services,” said Faraidooni. “I think the Du scratch cards will become very popular and once we add the option of using a Du line, I think that will be very useful for our customers as well.”