Mobile operator O2 announced today the launch of a free Wi-Fi network across the UK.
The “market-changing” public Wi-Fi would be open to all customers to access for free – no matter what mobile or broadband provider they were with.
The service would address the “many shortcomings” of current public Wi-Fi offerings by being genuinely free to customers, simple, fast and secure, O2 said.
Tim Sefton, O2’s new business development director, said Wi-Fi hotspots would bring high quality public Wi-Fi access to the majority of mobile users.
“Only 20 per cent 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,” he said.
“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’s aim was to at least double the number of premium hotspots currently offered by BT Openzone and The Cloud combined by 2013.
Rollout would begin immediately with the replacement of O2’s existing 450 Cloud hotspots.
The company would continue to extend the reach and scale of O2 Wi-Fi through partnerships with key venues including shops, restaurants, retail outlets, and outdoor and indoor locations across the UK.
O2 also said it was increasing investment in its mobile network by 25 percent this year.