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Free Wi-Fi coming to Japanese vending machines in 2012

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Japanese drinks maker Asahi plans to install free Wi-Fi in 10,000 vending machines over the next five years, with 1,000 coming in 2012. The service will work with any Wi-Fi device, and will not require registration or the purchase of a drink.


Japanese drinks company Asahi is rolling out free public Wi-Fi via 1,000 of its vending machines across the country next year, with plans to expand to 10,000 by 2017. You'll be able to access the service from any device without registration, and while it'll cut you off after 30 minutes, you can always reconnect. An unusual side effect of Japan's early and widespread adoption of mobile broadband has been the comparative lack of public Wi-Fi, even in major cities. The recent rise of smartphones and tablets in the country, however, has seen companies take steps to address the gap — customers of carriers like SoftBank can now get free Wi-Fi on train station platforms and in McDonald's, for example. Asahi's plan looks more generous than most, though, with free access open to any laptop, phone, or tablet regardless of carrier, and the signal will have a 50 meter radius. Best of all, you don't even have to buy a drink.