Tokyo subway commuters get free Wi-Fi access

Commuters can access free Wi-Fi service at 30 train stations once they download and register for an application, but they will be limited to 15-minute sessions each time.

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Commuters can enjoy free Wi-Fi service along with other information such as train schedules when they download and register for an application named MANTA.

Tokyo Metro has initiated a free Wi-Fi service trial for 30 of its train stations, which starts from April and will end on July 31, 2013.

The Japan Times reported Friday that commuters will be able to enjoy the service once they download the mobile app called MANTA (Metro Amusement Network Trinity App) and register their details.

MANTA, which is available on Android and iOS devices, also provides information on the particular station the commuter is at, such as train schedules, local area guides and news, it added.

However, users can only use the service for 15 minutes each session, and no more than five times a day, it added. A company spokesperson said the 15 minutes cap was based on the assumption that commuters will only use the service while waiting for their trains to arrive at the station.

Tokyo Metro had earlier announced the trial Wi-Fi service, which is jointly supported by NTT Broadband Platform, on February 14 this year but the serivce is only made available now, the report noted. The company did not say whether it will formally offer the service once the trial period ends.

Besides free Wi-Fi in the stations, Japanese commuters can expect 3G and LTE services during their train rides. Japanese telcos NTT Docomo and KDDI announced mobile phone services were made available on all Toyko Metro lines and the Toei Subway lines in late March, according to a separate report on The Japan Times.

Other Asian countries have also started offering Wi-Fi on their public transport. Earlier this week, the Indian Railways announced a US$1.1 million satellite Internet pilot project which will roll out free wireless Internet access to passengers for its train service, which takes almost a day to travel halfway across the country.

The Beijing Public Transport and China Mobile's Beijing subsidiary also signed an agreement providing wireless network capabilities on public buses in the Chinese capital last April. The service has since been extended to more bus routes in late January this year .

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