London, long starved of Wi-fi hotspots, get a big boost this week. Nokia kicks off a large-scale trial of free Wi-fi in the capital, with plans for a wider roll-out early next year.
A two-month trial, in partnership with Wi-fi provider Spectrum Interactive, will operate in 12 key areas in central London, focusing on shopping centre Oxford Street and other popular locations such as Knightsbridge, Sloane Square, Victoria and Westminster, , reports AdAge magazine.
The trial is intended to help Nokia figure out usage patterns and consumer demand before the big roll-out next year . It will also promote use of Nokia's online services, principally Nokia Maps, which will shows the location of the 26 participating hotspots in case if you can't find one of the telephone boxes with the Spectrum Interactive logo, which house the access points.
The free Wi-fi is part of Nokia's "Amazing Everyday" marketing push, says the US magazine. Also in the mix: the launch of the Lumia Windows Phone in the U.K. on Nov. 16. This will be supported with a TV ad, part of a global $130 million campaign by London agency Inferno.
The spot highlights the countless small adventures hidden in ordinary daily activities, and ends with the tagline "Experience the amazing everyday. New
London has lagged behind other European cities such as Paris in the free Wi-fi business. In the French capital it is available in many cafes and restaurants. Starbucks offers free Wi-fi in the UK in partnership with BT - but users have to go through" a rigorous sign-up procedure to access the service," says Adage.
Nokia's free Wi-fi comes with few strings : You don't have to register; just log on to the network, accept the terms and conditions and begin browsing. Consumers will be able to pick up free Wi-fi from a radius of 50 to 100 meters from each hotspot.
In the City, The Cloud provides free Wi-fi (sponsored by Nokia) but with the Olympics next year more Wi-fi services to help visitors find their way around are clearly needed. There are negotiations to offer Wi-fi in underground stations .
John Nichols, Nokia's U.K. marketing director, said in a statement, "Nokia believes you can upgrade everyday moments to make them amazing. Providing free Wi-fi access to London commuters and visitors does just that. On-the-go internet access has become an indispensable part of modern life. We all depend on mobile to share our everyday experiences and enhance our lives."
Simon Alberga, executive chairman at Spectrum Interactive, said, It's great to be able to implement this service."