Wi-Fi with fries to go

Batelco has continued its efforts to encourage mobile internet use with a new deal with the McDonald’s fast food chain in the Kingdom.

  • E-Mail
By  Simon Duddy Published  March 22, 2005

|~|McDs-sign_m.jpg|~||~|Batelco has continued its efforts to encourage mobile internet use with a new deal with the McDonald’s fast food chain in the Kingdom. The move turns the branches at Saar, Sakhir and Bab-El-Bahrain into Wi-Fi hot spots that allow customers with Wi-Fi capable notebooks, PDAs and mobiles to access the internet at broadband speeds of 1-2Mbytes/s. The scheme has been implemented and will be operated free of charge by Batelco for the first three months, with McDonald’s having to pay if it wants to continue the service after that. The partnership is part of an initiative by Batelco, which started last year with a wave of hot spots at coffee shops and hotels to coincide with the hosting of the Formula 1 grand prix. “Batelco is investing BD21 million (US$56 million) in a three-to-five year Broadband Bahrain programme with the aim of providing faster, more affordable internet access for both individuals and businesses in the Kingdom,” says Ian Dench, general manager of sales and marketing at Batelco. The move fits with McDonald’s plans to improve services for its customers, boost return rates and attract new trade. “McDonald’s is delighted to be able to offer the Wi-Fi connection service to our customers,” explains Adel Fakhro, chairman of the Fakhro Restaurants Company, which runs McDonald’s in Bahrain. “McDonald’s is frequented by busy people who are on the go and whether they are business customers, students, parents with children or teenagers, communication is a vital part of their world. Our new Wi-Fi facility makes it easy and convenient for our customers to combine a hectic schedule with keeping in touch,” he adds. Users pay for access by purchasing pre-paid cards, which work across all Batelco hot spots. The cards are available in denominations of BD3 (US$8) for one-hour usage, BD5 (US$13) for two hours and BD10 (US$26) for one day use, which works for 24 hours from the first log-in. Batelco has taken care of the Wi-Fi hot spot implementations, setting up the hot spot networks independently to the business networks deployed by the restaurants. Each solution is built around a Cisco router and HP Procurve switch, wireless routers and access points. The Wi-Fi network is managed by HP’s OpenView application, which has been customised to incorporate third party applications, such as Aptilo, which takes care of hot spot management, billing and access control. The main challenge in implementation is ensuring that location of the access points ensures good signaling. The system has security such as encryption built-in but Batelco also cautions that users should take appropriate security measures on the client-side. In terms of management, Batelco employs a team of engineers that administer the Wi-Fi networks the telco has deployed across the Kingdom. Batelco also has a support contract in place with Zayani Computer Systems for second-level support if required.||**||

Add a Comment

Your display name This field is mandatory

Your e-mail address This field is mandatory (Your e-mail address won't be published)

Security code