Mobile communications operator O2 will today announce plans for a public Wi-Fi platform across the UK, in which the company’s hotspots will be managed through partnerships with key venue owners, and will be open for all customers to access for free.
O2 Wifi, will aim to create a scaled Wi-Fi platform that it hoped will at least double the number of hotspots that are offered by BT Openzone and The Cloud combined by 2013, rolling out immediately to its 450 Cloud hotspots.
a sign up process will be necessary to allow free access for both O2 and O2 mobile customers, a process that will be auto provisioned for all O2 customers with Wi-Fi devices by the end of the year.
Tim Sefton, new business development director for O2, said: “Building networks is a core capability. We have pioneered the explosion of mobile data over the last three years and know better than anyone where people are accessing data. O2 Wifi 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,” continued Sefton.
“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,” he added.
O2 is also set to increase its investment into its mobile network by a quarter this year, which it hopes will allow its customers access to a suite of layered technologies such as EDGE, Wi-Fi and 2G.