The telecom operator Du and Smart Dubai Executive Committee plans to roll out free Wi-Fi services across multiple locations in Dubai, in an initiative to provide nationwide free Wi-Fi. The project, launched with an intention to boost e-governance services, already went live in more than 200 locations across Dubai. The target is to roll out Wi-Fi in nearly 300 locations by the end of this year.
Few of the locations include the Dubai Tram, Dubai Metro, Knowledge Village, the DIFC, Dubai Media City, Emaar Boulevard, Global Village and du retail outlets. Customers of any telecom operators can access Wi-Fi service. However, the customer needs to own a UAE mobile number.
There will be a free restricted-speed service and a higher speed premium service, with options of six hours for Dh20 and 20 hours for Dh50. The Dh20 option is usable over three days, whereas the Dh50 can be used over a period of seven days. The service will be activated with an OTP, which is obtainable through SMS.
According to reports, Du has not received any payments from the Government for providing the service. “We do this as a part of our commitment to Smart Dubai,” said Du’s Chief Executive Osman Sultan. “This is a part of us extending the connectivity we offer through our mobile network across various locations,” he added.
The company plans to get the revenue for the same by the use of advertisements. “There will probably be some revenue streams potentially and progressively built through the use of advertising, as a way of getting some return on investment,” Sultan said. The provision will be arranged in such a way that the users need to watch short video advertisement in exchange for an hour’s free internet access.
“Dubai will become a truly smart city when people coming in and out can access complementary Wi-Fi in a convenient and seamless manner,” said Mr Sultan. “There are some approvals we need to get and some processes to put in place, so we don’t want to make a pronouncement about when it will go live for everyone, but we’re working really hard to make it happen.”
Very soon, Du will be made available at Dubai’s parks and beaches, along with locations like The Dubai Mall. The project awaits confirmation from Dubai municipality for a few locations.
“Wi-Fi UAE is a project that will transform Dubai into the smartest city in the world,” said Aisha bin Bishr, a member of the Executive Committee of the Smart Dubai Initiative.
Mobile internet is Du’s fastest growing business segment. UAE’ rising smartphone penetration blessed Du in this regard. The telecom operators’ mobile data revenue exhibited an increase of 14 percent in the first quarter of the year compared to previous year. The operator’s total quarterly revenue grew by just 3.2 per cent over the same period.