Free Wi-Fi scam


In 2016, Globe Telecom started providing free Wi-Fi at select LRT-1 stations. Initially, LRT passengers can go online free for 60 minutes using their mobile device. The Wi-Fi automatically activates when you are at the station.

Of course, it was a gimmick. First, passengers board trains and lose Internet connection once the train leave the station, which is the only area covered by Wi-Fi signal. So the free Wi-Fi at the LRT station was not really useful for commuters on the go. Even if Globe offered more than one hour of free Wi-Fi, it won’t be useful either because commuters cannot stay longer than one hour in the train boarding platform. If they do, they would be fined or they can’t exit as LRT fare smartcard expires in one hour after it is bought.

Since November or December, you can’t automatically get a Wi-Fi signal in the LRT station. Globe will first ask for your number to send you a code via sms. The code, once typed in the @GoWiFi_Auto landing page field, will activate the Wi-Fi signal. Supposedly.

It won’t activate. Instead, another page will appear in your smartphone screen offering you to buy a Globe load to get online. There is a button to get online free but with ads. But when you click that button, you are asked to select the hotspot in the Wi-Fi setting of your device. And when you touch the @GoWiFi_auto, it won’t activate.

So the Globe free Wi-Fi in LRT stations appear to be just a come-on, a promo for their service and a place where they can sell Wi-Fi load.

The telco also has been collecting commuters’ smartphone numbers by requiring codes to activate the free Wi-Fi service (or the offer to buy load) to fatten its customer database, which is used for pushing their products and service.

So where is the free Wi-Fi now? Were train commuters duped into believing they’d get free Wi-Fi in train stations? Are the DICT or NTC aware that Globe will just really be providing the free Wi-Fi temporarily? Are they sleeping on their job or did they sanction the scam?