28 March 2014 - Speech by Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for Communications and Information at the Launch of the Next Phase of Wireless@SG Programme on Friday, 28 March 2014 at 10.30am at iExperience, Esplanade Xchange.
Speech by Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for Communications and Information at the Launch of the Next Phase of Wireless@SG Programme on Friday, 28 March 2014 at 10.30am at iExperience, Esplanade Xchange.
Ladies and Gentlemen
1. I am happy to join you this morning to launch the next phase of Wireless@SG.
2. With Wireless@SG, users have been able to enjoy free wireless broadband access with speeds of up to 2 Mbps at public areas. Today, there are two million subscribers. Usage has also increased six-fold since its launch in 2006, and now stands at nearly 32 hours per user per month. Usage at our libraries and hospitals is the highest among our hotspots.
3. Over the years, we have upgraded Wireless@SG to improve user experience and drive the adoption of innovative services for both consumers and enterprises. From 1 April this year, users will be able to log on to the service using a local SIM card on a supported mobile device. The SIM-based authentication mechanism will allow a one-time configuration of mobile phones for automatic detection and log-in to the Wireless@SG network. In addition, from June 2014, visitors to Singapore can register for a free Wireless@SG account at any Wireless@SG hotspot and receive their login details through SMS message sent to their foreign mobile numbers.
4. These enhancements are timely. The pervasive cellular network and presence of Wi-Fi hotspots have paved the way for service providers to roll out location-based and context-driven services to consumers and businesses. More venue owners are also working with Wireless@SG operators to provide free basic Wi-Fi to their customers at their premises. They have also begun to adopt enterprise services such as cashless payments and online advertising. With the pervasiveness of mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, the demand for free public Wi-Fi services will only continue to increase.
5. IDA, together with Wireless@SG partners, will roll out more hotspots progressively. For example, the Land Transport Authority, will begin a Wireless@SG trial at 28 MRT station platforms across Singapore. These include the platforms of all North East Line stations and 12 other stations with high commuter usage.
6. The Government will also support our SMEs to take advantage of ICT solutions delivered through high speed connectivity. As part of the recently announced ICT for Productivity and Growth programme, IDA will subsidise SMEs' fibre subscription plans of at least 100 Mbps and provide further support for them to implement Wireless@SG services at their premises.
7. Today, mobile users are able to operate and access data services across different wireless networks such as cellular and Wi-Fi. However, resources such as spectrum may not be optimally used to serve diverse user demands. The private-sector led InfoComm Media Masterplan Steering Committee will be consulting the industry and public on the idea of a nationwide heterogeneous network (HetNet). With HetNet, users will be able to connect more seamlessly and operate their devices across different wireless networks such as cellular and Wi-Fi. If implemented, HetNet will offer many exciting opportunities in the sector for businesses and services.
8. So even as we launch the next phase of Wireless@SG, the Government will continue to explore ways to improve the network and infrastructure. This will ensure that residents and visitors enjoy seamless connectivity islandwide. Thank you.