Nov 30, 2012

Japan - Japan’s largest free Wi-Fi service begins next month

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When it comes to technology, Japan is one of the most bafflingly inconsistent countries I’ve come across.

On one hand there are people displaying 4 tonne, 4 metre-high robots controlled by an iPhone while the press contact for the exhibition at the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation in Tokyo probably sent out the media release by a fax machine.

And the same applies to wi-fi. If you’ve ever been to Japan, armed with your smart-phone or laptop, you’ve more than likely ended up drinking your bodyweight in Starbucks just to get a wi-fi signal outside your hotel (which may or may not have supplied you with a LAN cable instead).

Well, put down that venti-mocha, de-caf, soy latte and fear no more!

Seven & i Holdings, parent company of the 7-Eleven convenience store chain, has announced it will be offering free wi-fi access from 10,000 stores beginning December 1.

Called “Seven Spot” the fibre-optic cable network will be the largest wi-fi service provided by a retailer, in Japan.

All potential users have to do is register, which is free. After that  they’re able to use the wi-fi at several of Seven & i Holding’s companies including 7-Eleven convenience stores, Ito Yokado supermarkets, and Denny’s restaurants.

The wi-fi service will give users access to downloads such as idol group smartphone wallpaper and video games, but the company has said it plans to make the service available to everyone in the case of a disaster.

The company is currently running a trial wi-fi service at 1,100 shops within Tokyo’s 23 wards. According to the company’s website, almost 200,000 people have already signed up to this service, warranting its nationwide expansion.

Users can find their closest wi-fi hotspot through the new Seven Spot website.

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