I was at Raffles City Starbucks last week when a Korean tourist approached me and asked if there is free internet service here. I told her that we have a free internet service call Wireless@sg. All she needs is to register at the login page.
Minutes later, she approached me again and asked how to register. So I guided her along the registration process until we stumble upon something. You need to have a local mobile phone number in order to register for a Wireless@sg account.
Hello?!?! What is the chances of a tourist having a +65 mobile phone number? Why aren’t they allowed to register with their telephone number from their country?
Wireless@sg registration for tourist is rather tedious and troublesome. A Malaysian journalist from ZDnet Asia wrote about his ‘registration experience’ with Wireless@sg at Changi Airport early this year. No prize for guessing if he managed to login to our Nation’s Next Generation National Infocomm Infrastructure initiative.
Perhaps we can take a leaf out of Malaysia’s Wireless@kl book. Tourist can register for an account at Wireless@kl website before visiting Malaysia. The activation code is send to your mobile number and you don’t need a Malaysian mobile phone number to register for Wireless@kl. My Singapore mobile number works fine.
Look at Singapore’s Wireless@sg. We don’t even have a dedicated page for Wireless@sg. We have 3 separate registration page run by 3 operators. Won’t that add on to more confusion for the tourist? And none of them allow you to register if you don’t have a Singapore mobile phone number. If you are a tourist without a Singapore mobile phone, you can register at Changi Airport’s information counters. Seriously? Like if I’m at Raffles City at midnight and I need to use Wireles@sg, I have to go down to Changi Airport to register for an account? And what is the information counter’s opening hour?
If IDA is serious about allowing tourists/visitors use wireless@sg, I think they need to seriously re-look into the registration process. Else, please remove the link for tourist to register a wireless@sg account.
So in the end, the Korean tourist couldn’t register a Wireless@sg account. I have to login my account on her netbook so that she could send email back to her family and friends in Korea.