Here in Taipei there's more cafes than ever and most have free Wi-Fi, and of course accommodation always has free Wi-Fi too. So I don't bother spending money for Wi-Fi access.

There do seem to be a bunch of wireless internet that have Wi-Fi signals all over the place that you would buy a membership for and then access at any of their hotspots. It seems that in convenience stores you typically pick up several of those signals.

Sometimes I wish I could quickly double check something on Google when my offline map isn't up to snuff. Looking for a hostel or Airbnb at short notice when arriving in a new town would be another use case. But the English is often poor or absent on the gateway pages that pop up when you connect to these signals, and connecting to each one in turn and trying to figure it out can chew through device batteries faster than normal use.

Might sometimes one of the signals actually be a free one provided by the convenience store chain, perhaps offering ten minutes free or similar, as I've experienced elsewhere?

Does anyone know if any of the many convenience store chains here have free Wi-Fi even for a short time?

  • 4
    Taipei has free municipal WiFi all over, with better coverage than I've seen in any other city. There was reception in all of the metro stations I went through and outdoors in many places too. It was very useful for finding directions, since you can't save Google Maps areas in Taiwan due to licensing restrictions. The networks are normally named something like TPE Free or TPE Free + a provider name. You just need to create a free account and authenticate once, when you sign up, via SMS (international numbers are fine; I just used my US Google Voice number).
    – Urbana
    Aug 11 '16 at 5:09
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    Yes I've been reading about it online since I asked this question but info is pretty confusing. I don't have or want a phone but it seems there's a way to sign up by taking your passport to an office too. There was also a news article from 1.5 years ago that Taipei might cancel the program. Also I'll probably have more need for it once I leave Taipei to circumnavigate the island. Aug 11 '16 at 5:44
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    If you don't have a phone number (which, even if you don't have/want a phone, is very convenient for situations like this if nothing else), you can sign up for free at Taipei Main Station or a couple other tourist information offices, the locations of which are easily Googlable. It'd be a shame if Taipei cancelled it since it was really quite impressive in its coverage; it's what I imagine other cities with "free WiFi everywhere" want their programs to be like.
    – Urbana
    Aug 11 '16 at 5:45
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    (To clarify, it'd be a shame if Taipei were to cancel it (future tense); they certainly haven't done so yet, since it was working just fine when I was there a week ago.)
    – Urbana
    Aug 11 '16 at 5:54
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    @davidvc: Here's the link to the news article about possible cancellation of the program. It's in Chinese but it's the only mention of it I've been able to find. Aug 11 '16 at 7:00

Yes, 7-Eleven and FamilyMart both do, but since they're both so hard to use in English, I'll tell you about another service I found that is not tied to a convenience store chain first.

.1.Free Wi-Fi (點一點免費上網)

I haven't worked out the specifics yet but at least on the west coast at least from Lukang (鹿港) in the north to at least Kaohsiung (高雄) in the south I've very often found a free Wi-Fi signal called .1.Free Wi-Fi.

I was connected to it when I wrote the first draft of this answer: Connected to .1.Free Wi-Fi

I found their logo on a phone booth in Chiayi city: .1.Free Wi-Fi logo

I have found these signals in big cities and small towns and perhaps even isolated villages with a convenience store, but I'm not positive yet. The signals are common but they are not everywhere. In a city you can try wandering around a street or two until you get a strong signal. In a smaller place you might not get one at all. They are not tied to convenience stores.

Usually I have to click on an image to start it working and from time to time I would get redirected to an ad in Chinese and just click on the image again:
image to click

But at one place I just got an open connection and did not have to do anything special at all for it to work.

I finally managed to find their website but it's only in Chinese and Google Translating it doesn't tell me very much. It's a product of a company called "OPEN LiFE". The Chinese name is 點一點免費上網 (diǎn-yī-diǎn miǎnfèi shàngwǎng) "little-by-little free online".

There is also a less common competitor which I've only found a couple of times, but works it much the same way. It's called YO!

YO Wi-Fi

7-Eleven / ibon

7-Eleven free Wi-Fi ad
Although I eventually found this ad in English, I have not so far figured out how to actually sign up or log in for this free Wi-Fi in a 7-Eleven yet.

The log in page is only in Chinese and some of the text is images so even if you manage to get Google Translate to work, you still not not be able to figure out how to get it to work.

Until I found this ad I assumed it must only work with a phone sending you some code via SMS, and not with a tablet or laptop. But apparently it requires your passport and visa.

The service is available for 3 times daily, 30 minutes each. 7 days for free

FamilyMart / Famí-WiFi

Apparently FamilyMart in Taiwan also offers free Wi-Fi 3 times daily, 30 minutes each, just like 7-Eleven.

Unfortunately, not only are their sign-up and log-in pages only in Chinese, but I also can't find any kind of official word from the company in English that it exists.


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