Free Wi-Fi on two service 176 buses

M1 pilot scheme on SMRT buses is part of trials on new auto-switch wireless system

Two buses have become the first in Singapore to offer free Wi-Fi to passengers.

The buses, part of service 176 plying between Bukit Merah and Bukit Panjang, will allow commuters to access the Wireless@SG network, thanks to a collaboration between telco M1 and the Infocomm Development Authority, as part of nationwide trials on the Heterogeneous Network (HetNet).

The bus pilot scheme was launched yesterday and both buses have signs advertising the service.

HetNet is a new wireless system that allows users to automatically switch between Wi-Fi and cellular networks, like 4G, in order to minimise surfing slowdowns and disruptions. The buses' Wi-Fi service is open to any user who has a Wireless@SG account and a device capable of logging on to the network. Singtel and StarHub users can also make use of the service.

"If the trial is successful, we will further our collaboration with M1 to explore a fleet-wide implementation in the foreseeable future," said SMRT buses vice-president Tan Kian Heong.

Commuters on the two buses will be able to access the Wireless@SG network if they have a Wireless@SG account. M1 subscribers who signed up to participate in the  telco’s HetNet trial will also be able to connect to its M1 Wi-Fi service on the two buses at the end of the month. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

Undergraduate Huang Feixue, 21, who takes service 176 to school, plans to use the free Wi-Fi to watch videos, as data consumption on 4G can be high.

"But if authentication is required every time I connect to the ser- vice, it may be quite troublesome," she said.

M1 subscribers who have signed up to participate in the telco's HetNet trial will also be able to connect to M1's Wi-Fi service on the two buses at the end of the month.

This Wi-Fi network is open only to M1 customers, and the telco claims it will offer download speeds that are more than 10 times faster than those available through Wireless@SG.

The current surfing speed for Wireless@SG is up to 2Mbps. On Monday, the Government announced plans to increase it to 5Mbps by the end of the year.

Mr Denis Seek, M1's chief technical officer, said: "With the roll-out of our M1Wi-Fi service and the extension of our small-cell network to additional high-traffic sites, such as transport hubs and shopping malls, as well as to selected connected vehicles, in 2016, M1 customers can look forward to enjoying an even better data experience."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 13, 2016, with the headline 'Free Wi-Fi on two service 176 buses'. Subscribe