O2 announces free wi-fi network

Darren Allan

January 26, 2011

The folks at O2 have decided they’re going to be generous with their wi-fi access.

The network operator intends to create a wi-fi platform in the UK which will be free to access not just for its customers, but for any member of the public.

O2 is promising a “simple, fast and secure” network available to all, and by 2013 reckons it will boast wi-fi coverage which will double the number of premium hotspots currently offered by BT OpenZone and The Cloud combined.

Roll out of the new wi-fi system begins today, with the first move being the replacement of 450 existing Cloud hotspots in O2’s retail and office operations.

It will expand across various venues in the UK which will include retail outlets, shops, restaurants, and a number of indoor and outdoor locations across the country.

Tim Sefton, O2’s New Business Development Director, commented: “O2 wi-fi hotspots will bring high quality public wi-fi access to the majority of mobile users.”

“Only 20% of people who have access to free public wi-fi on O2 tariffs actively use it despite the majority of devices being wi-fi enabled. We know that wi-fi as a technology has great potential and can be a very fast service, however customers are discouraged by barriers which include complexity in activation, uncertainty of where wi-fi is free and the variable quality of the current experience.”

“O2 is integrating new layers of technology into the existing network to enable a seamless and sustained customer experience. We are technology-agnostic and driven entirely by our customers’ needs. We believe that services should be delivered in the best possible way, across multiple networks, supported by different technologies.”

O2 also notes that it is upping the level of investment in its mobile network by 25% this year, so those on 3G with the company should in theory benefit from this extra money, and the traffic relief that the wi-fi platform provides.


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