Dubai Metro nets 100k web users per month

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By David George-Cosh www.thenational.ae

The Dubai Metro has more than 100,000 people surfing the web each month, creating a growing revenue stream that is at least worth Dh500,000.

A man riding the Dubai Metro at the Al Karama Station is probably checking his e-mails, but I bet he'd rather be surfing the Web on his mobile. Pawan Singh / The National
A man riding the Dubai Metro at the Al Karama Station is probably checking his e-mails, but I bet he'd rather be surfing the Web on his mobile. Pawan Singh / The National

Ayman Elnashar, the director for broadband wireless technology at du, said that the numbers have surpassed internal forecasts.

“It’s surprising because we there is no marketing for the project,” Mr Elnasher said. “Personally, I don’t use [the metro] that much so I haven’t seen any advertising, but it needs to have more marketing.”

The Dubai Metro internet service is run under du’s wireless broadband service that has installed access points in several locations in each of the RTA 79 metro cars. According to a source at du who declined to be named, du has spent $7 million (Dh25.7m) to build the metro’s internet service.

Metro travellers who want to access the internet while aboard the train or within the station must either be a du mobile subscriber or purchase airtime through a scratch card.

Assuming conservatively that each internet user pays Dh5 to log on to the web, the rate charged for a postpaid mobile subscriber using the service, du receives Dh500,000 per month, although the figure is likely to be higher.

And that figure should grow with the addition of several new metro stations on the Red Line. About 100,000 riders use the Metro every day, according to recent Road and Transport Authority estimates, an increase from 80,000 riders prior to the opening of the new stations.

Mr Elnasher said that du is in negotiations with Etisalat to let the operator’s customers use the Metro’s internet as well.

“There is talks to have [the internet] open to Etisalat accounts as well, but the technology is a bit complicated because we need to have our billing system connected to their system,” Mr Elnasher.

“There’s negotiations going on with the [same negotiations] for internet broadband sharing.”