Telecom operator du is to create 5,000 Wi-Fi hotspots in 100 locations between Dubai and Abu Dhabi as it seeks to play its part in the Dubai Smart City initiative.
National newspaper Gulf News reports that the announcement represents an ambitious move from the operator to position itself as the "official Wi-Fi partner" to Dubai Smart City.
The plans, which were outlined by Fahad Al Hassawi, chief commercial officer at du, coincide with the news that the firm has signed a memorandum of understanding with the emirate's transport authority to provide Wi-Fi services in all metro stations and trains and in the soon-to-be-launched Dubai Tram.
Al Hassawi said that the platform – called UAE WiFi - is "motivated by market requirements" and will see free Wi-Fi offered in three options – free unlimited and fast access to all the government apps, free Wi-Fi at low bandwidth and premium speed at a nominal price.
"We signed a deal with Dubai Municipality to offer free Wi-Fi to all the parks and public beaches in Dubai. We also signed a deal with RTA (the Roads & Transport Authority) to provide free Wi-Fi in Metro and Tram," he said.
He believes the infrastructure will spawn many smart city projects in the UAE, once the locations have been finalised and the equipment deployed. The release of the locations which will benefit from the infrastructure will be staggered in a "phased manner".
Du is already providing free Wi-Fi across the 3.5-km long Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard in Downtown Dubai and DIFC (the Dubai International Financial Centre).