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Gadgets & Home Improvement

Wi-Fi roaming now possible with M1 app

GLOBETROTTING M1 customers will now have another cheaper way to access the Web on their mobile devices when overseas.
The Straits Times - April 12, 2013
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Wi-Fi roaming now possible with M1 app

GLOBETROTTING M1 customers will now have another cheaper way to access the Web on their mobile devices when overseas.

Charges for Singapore's first Wi-Fi roaming service for general consumers, which was launched yesterday and is available in over 120 countries, will be capped at $12 or $19 a day, based on the region.

Roaming with Wi-Fi is cheaper than on 3G, which can cost hundreds of dollars for a few minutes of picture downloads. But while M1's current unlimited 3G data roaming is capped at $15 a day, the service is available only in 11 Asian destinations, including Malaysia, Japan and Hong Kong.

Travellers to the United States and Europe typically have to rely on free Wi-Fi connections or buy a prepaid 3G data SIM card from telcos there to check e-mail or surf the Web. With the latter option, users usually take along a second smartphone or a tablet.

But with M1's new service, users can access data without worrying about getting a bill shock at the end of the month. There are no subscription or activation charges. Users pay only after a successful connection to Wi-Fi hot spots through the M1 WiFi Roaming app, which can be downloaded from the Google Play Store or iTunes.

Users must set up a user profile via the app before travelling so as not to incur extra 3G data charges. When overseas, they must launch the app to locate and connect to available Wi-Fi hot spots managed by M1's partners, including British Telecom in Britain and AT&T in the US. Wi-Fi charges are capped at $12 a day when roaming within the Asia-Pacific region and the US, and $19 a day for the rest of the world.

Using the service in both Tokyo and New York while travelling between the two cities on the same day, for example, will entail a single $12 fee. But when shuttling between Tokyo and Madrid, users will have to add an additional $19. Customers still pay once when they log on with multiple devices at the same hot spot through the M1 app.

Businessman Victor Chew, 42, said: "I normally buy the prepaid 3G data SIM card in countries I travel to, and 3G connection is pervasive. Wi-Fi roaming is worth trying only if coverage is just as good."

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