The idea behind the WiFi access is to make available to the public all unclassified data. Photo for illustrative purposes. Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

Dubai: Telecom operator du has rolled out free WiFi services in more than 200 locations in Dubai and aims to offer it across more than 300 locations in Dubai and Abu Dhabi by the end of the year, Othman Sultan, CEO of the company, told Gulf News.

Du is the “official WiFi UAE partner” for Dubai Smart City.

The service will empower residents by enabling seamless, reliable and secure connectivity to access the internet, browse government websites and apps, pay bills, get updates about applications and avail eServices, among other benefits.

Du is offering WiFi in three options — free unlimited and fast access to all the government websites and apps, free WiFi at low bandwidth and the premium speed at a nominal price.

He said that customers have options to choose from. Within the complimentary free WiFi, customers have the option of tasting the premium WiFi for five minutes during the day.

As a launch promotion for three months, premium users can avail six hours of high-speed internet that can be used over three days for just Dh20.

A Dh50 recharge will buy 20 hours of high-speed internet access that can be used over seven days.

Users can just recharge with a du WOW recharge card or use their UAE or GCC-issued credit card to buy credit.

“We are ready to roll it out in Abu Dhabi and in some places it will be rolled out in June. We are working on the plan to roll it out in the northern emirates. We are currently receiving requests and processing those, and hoping to launch by the end of this year,” Sultan said.

He said the WiFi UAE initiative is fully sponsored by du and partners have to just ensure the location in order for them to install the equipment.

Dr Aisha Bin Bishr, Assistant Director of The Executive office of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, said that the focus is on Dubai for free WiFi access in the first phase, followed by Abu Dhabi and other emirates.

It has been rolled out in the Dubai Metro, Dubai Tram, Dubai International Financial Centre, Knowledge Village, Dubai Media City, Emaar Boulevard, Global Village and du shops.

Aisha, who is also a member of the Executive Office of the Smart Dubai Initiative, said that all parks and beaches of Dubai Municipality will have WiFi access by the end of the year.

“We started with du under the WiFi UAE and have a platform for the smart infrastructure of the city. We are looking to establish a larger partnership base within the ICT private sector to transform Dubai into the smartest city in the world,” she said.

She said that many government entities have already launched many smart services and the next step is to develop the platform for the city and open the data.

“Our idea is to make available to the public all unclassified data that is not personal or sensitive to anybody as well as provides instructions and guidelines on what to share and what not to share,” she said.

In November, Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council, issued a decree to establish a committee called ‘Dubai Open Data Committee’ and their mandate is to draft the law for data in the city, framework, classification and roadmap for implementing the law.

“The deadline is by the end of this week and we will announce the law, classification and regulations related to open data,” she said.