O2 launches free Wi-Fi venture


O2 has announced plans to offer free Wi-Fi in a plethora of venues across the UK, claiming it would redefine the Wi-Fi landscape.

Both O2 and non-O2 customers will be able to enjoy free access after the communications firm initiated an expansion of its premium hotspot deployment.

Premium O2 subscribers can already enjoy access to BT OpenZone and The Cloud hotspots and these customers will still be able to benefit from this deal as the newly-announced deployment is rolled out.

By 2013, O2 said its Wi-Fi deployment would contain at least double the number of premium hotspots currently offered by BT Openzone and The Cloud together.

O2 customers will be automatically signed up to free Wi-Fi offering by the end of 2011, whilst non-O2 customers will have to go through a sign-up process.

"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," said O2's new business development director, Tim Sefton.

"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 has signed up with a number of venue owners to deploy the hotspots.

Venue owners will be required to pay a fee to have the new O2 hotspots installed at their site.

BT last week announced free Wi-Fi access for iPad users, but with the proviso they would need to sign up to the company's home broadband option.

Tom Brewster

Tom Brewster is currently an associate editor at Forbes and an award-winning journalist who covers cyber security, surveillance, and privacy. Starting his career at ITPro as a staff writer and working up to a senior staff writer role, Tom has been covering the tech industry for more than ten years and is considered one of the leading journalists in his specialism.

He is a proud alum of the University of Sheffield where he secured an undergraduate degree in English Literature before undertaking a certification from General Assembly in web development.