UK mobile operator O2 has confirmed plans to build a free pueblos WiFi network it says will offer “at least double” the number of hotspots currently offered by BT Openzone and The Cloud combined by 2013.
The company says it will start the roll-out of the new network “immediately” by replacing its existing 450 Cloud hotspots in its shops and offices.
It also says the network will consist solely of “premium public hotspots, as opposed to using residential connections with limited bandwidth.”
Access will be available to access for free regardless of which mobile or broadband provider customers are with.
Users will access hotspots through a simple sign-up process and the firm says the sign up process will be auto provisioned for all O2 customers with Wi-Fi devices by the end of the year.
O2’s New Business Development Director Tim Sefton said:“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.”
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