SINGAPORE – Singaporeans’ love for freebies doesn’t seem to apply to free public Wi-Fi services like Wireless@SG.
According to a new research survey finding from mobile data service provider Acision, seven out of 10 respondents in Singapore rated mobile broadband as an important service they wanted to keep, despite free Internet access being available.
The slow speed of Wireless@SG was a common complaint from 61 per cent of the 1,000 respondents.
But the 3G network is also slowing down, said iCell’s CEO Ken Chua.
He said: “It’s common market knowledge that the 3G network is getting slower and slower because more devices are being connected.”
But Mr Chua said iCell, which is one of three Wireless@SG operators, is not looking to compete – but play a complementary role to the 3G network – with Wireless@SG.
This is especially when Wireless@SG’s bandwidth is increased by the next-generation network.
Ms Sheryl Tan and her husband, Mr Marcus Lim, used Wireless@SG for the free downloading of apps for their iPad and iPhone.
But the couple seldom log onto Wireless@SG now because their 3G-enabled devices easily allow them to access the Internet without having to log on to the free Internet service.
Despite the survey results suggesting that Wireless@SG could be waning in popularity, the Infcomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) said the number of Wireless@SG subscribers had grown to 1.7 million as of October.
The IDA added that a user now logs on for 13.5 hours every month, up from the average of 2.1 hours when the free service was launched in December 2006.
So why the disparity in numbers?
Multiple accounts from a single subscriber could be the reason for the increase, said Mr Jayest Easwaramony, vice-president of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Practice, Frost and Sullivan.
This is because some subscribers could have forgotten their password and username.
Mr Easwaramony noted Wireless@SG could be more popular with travellers and students who cannot afford mobile Internet connection.
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