Passengers waiting for their trains at subway stations won’t be bored to death anymore as Tokyo Metro Co will be offering trial free WiFi service starting this month. When people register for MANTA (Metro Amusement Network Trinity App), their smartphones will be connected to the free service until July 31.
Due to the expected volume of users who will be accessing the free Wi-Fi, there will be a few restrictions. Users can only access it five times a day and with a limit of 15 minutes per use. They are assuming that the passengers will only access it while waiting for the trains so the minutes allotted should be enough. The MANTA will also provide users with information regarding the station, like train schedules, a local area guide, maps, and even news. The router locations will also be indicated on the station maps so people know where the signal is strongest. The app is available for both Apple and Android devices through their respective app stores.
Aside from the free WiFi, the major cellphone carriers have also strengthened their 3G and LTE services so that mobile users can access the Internet even while riding underground. Before 2011, cellphone connections were hardly available in the subway tunnels. But the Great East Japan Earthquake showed everyone how important connectivity is during emergencies like these and so the subway operators and the carriers worked overtime to make sure that the signals underground will be available.
The free Wi-Fi services is a partnership between Tokyo Metro and NTT Broadband Platform Inc. They launched at 30 stations last February 14 but has now rolled it out to all stations except for the following: Wakoshi on the Fukutoshin and Yurakucho lines, Nakano and Nishifunabashi on the Tozai Line, Yoyogiuehara on the Chiyoda Line, Shibuya on the Fukutoshin and Hanzomon lines, Kitasenju on the Hibiya Line, and Meguro on the Nanboku Line. These are excluded because different companies manage these stations. Tokyo Metro will decide later on if they will extend this service beyond July 31.
[ via ZDNet ]