Tokyo-based startup TownWiFi has been developing and offering a mobile app for Android and iOS under the same name. The app allows mobile users to gain public WiFi access at more than 2 million locations worldwide without any time-consuming sign-in process. The company announced on Thursday that it has started supporting public WiFi spots in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau. This follows their global service expansion into Korea and the US (including Hawaii and Guam).
TownWiFi, previously known as WiFi Share, was founded back in 2015 by former Rakuten employee Takehiro Ogita. In 2016, he and his team unveiled the TownWiFi concept at Incubate Camp, the startup incubation bootcamp initiative run by Japanese VC firm Incubate Fund, and subsequently won the special award at TechCrunch Tokyo, an annual startup showcase event by the tech blog’s local entity in Japan.
For local users, the app allows them to off-load their data traffic using 3G/4G connection to public WiFi services when available without user intervention like choosing an SSID (service set identifier) or making a sign-in process so that they are likely to enjoy mobile web surfing without worrying about the possibility of hitting a monthly data usage limit. For international visitors, it helps them use public WiFi spots easily so that they need less to subscribe to roaming services, rent a mobile router or purchase a SIM card supporting a local cellular network.
When a user fails to establish a WiFi connection using the app, it will report the failure to the WiFi spot owner so that they are encouraged to improve the connectivity environment for future users.
Since its launch back in April last year, the TownWiFi app has surpassed 2 million downloads. In addition to Japan, Korea and the US, the expansion at this time announces that the app now supports 34 different public WiFi services in Taiwan (200,000 hotspots), 56 different services in Hong Kong (100,000 hotspots), and 20 different services in Macau (10,000 hotspots).
Edited by “Tex” Pomeroy