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O2 to bring free Wi-Fi hotspots to the UK
Wednesday 26 January 2011 01:33:57 by John Hunt

O2 are the latest operator to announce that they will be joining the Wi-Fi market by rolling out Wi-Fi hotspots across the UK, following on from the expected announcement this week that BSkyB will acquire The Cloud. O2 have a key difference to competitors such as BT Openzone and The Cloud- their network is going to be free.

The company will start with their 450 retail locations, which will become live in the second quarter of 2011. O2 will also look to install into restaurants, shops and sports stadiums. Unlike BT which touts over 2 million hotspot locations (through the use of customer broadband connections), O2 will only install dedicated Wi-Fi hotspots.

"Many users have frustrating experiences with Wi-Fi hotspots or don't understand how to access the networks, such as what information they need to sign up, a password to remember and so forth, and so the market has become stagnant.

For mobile users this will bring big benefits by increasing the quality of Wi-Fi network coverage, and will help give partners increased engagement with customers."

Gavin Franks, (Managing Director) O2

One benefit of deploying Wi-Fi is that it will ease the strain on the O2 3G network. If O2 can get access points installed in high-usage data areas, it should help free up bandwidth in the mobile network improving the quality of service received.

Virgin Media also recently announced that they were looking at deployments of Wi-Fi in areas where there is demand. This would then just leave TalkTalk as the only large broadband provider without a Wi-Fi service. (Orange's sister company T-Mobile (through Everything Everywhere) do have hotspots, so Orange would be unlikely to deploy their own service.)


Posted by otester over 6 years ago
People need WiFi because O2's coverage is so poor.
Posted by dgmckenzie over 6 years ago
I would prefer if they would just make sure they have enough mobile coverage rather than adding WiFi
Posted by SheepFarmer over 6 years ago
I use O2 and find their coverage pretty good. Adding lots more mobile coverage would put my bill up which I don't want.

WiFi always seems better then 3G signals. It's the best technology for areas where lots of gather and much cheaper than putting a mast up!
Posted by New_Londoner over 6 years ago
IMHO Hardly newsworthy given the paltry number of sites planned versus those already available in the UK (and that's in terms of "dedicated Wi-Fi hotspots", before you even consider the FON sites).
Posted by Nubink over 6 years ago
Tthe mobile operators have a huge problem: they have a network designed for voice that is managing mostly data and they are running out of capacity. That is why we cannot buy "Unlimited" data packages any longer - instead limited to a miserly 512MB/m.

Creating a data service that utilises landline technology (adsl or fibre broadband) is the most sensible approach to the phenomenon of Smart phones and the craze of continuous twitter / facebook updates.
Sorry, I have had to snip as comment is too long... check out the next one...
Posted by Nubink over 6 years ago
Part 2
It will alleviate the drain on mobile data networks giving back some performance to those who are not within range of these urban hotspots.

Also, FREE... Well of course it is... It's a lot cheaper to deploy these hotspots than try and upgrade the 3G infrastructure.

Expect more operators to do this in more locations... this will be the next unique selling point for the operators...

NOTE: It would be very unfriendly for mobile operators to add this as part of your data package... you must clarify with them first!!!!
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