O2’s UK Chief Executive Ronan Dunne explains why the launch of O2 Wifi will change the way public Wi-Fi works forever.
Today we’re announcing O2 Wifi, a service that will provide premium Wi-Fi hotspots through partnerships with key venue owners and will be open to anyone for free, regardless of what mobile or broadband network a person may be on.
At O2 we’ve led the way in the use of mobile data and, in particular, public Wi-Fi. Our customers have had free hotspot access at The Cloud and BT Openzone included in their tariffs from the launch of the iPhone in 2007 and we’ve seen new and exciting uses for mobile data appear ever since. Instead of sending a text to some friends to say where we are, we now check-in on services like Facebook and Foursquare. A night out can now be planned on the go using Google Maps on your smartphone. And getting home is easy – find your last train home or book a cab over the web without making a single phone call.
O2 Wifi will address the many shortcomings in the way most Wi-Fi hotspots work – you won’t need to buy a coffee to use it and it won’t matter what sim card is in your phone. You’ll only ever need to sign in once and then our network will remember you, wherever you go. Even better, our hotspots will be powered by our own broadband network which delivers speeds up to three times as fast as other hotspots may get.
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Our hotspots will start to appear over the next few months, first at our offices and our shops. But, by 2013, O2 Wifi will have double the amount of premium hotspots currently offered by BT Openzone and The Cloud combined. We’ll also work with the venues that host O2 Wifi to integrate O2 Media and O2 Money too, meaning you could use O2 Wifi at your favourite restaurant and get a discount on the meal you love.
We’re really excited to be starting work on O2 Wifi and think it’ll change the way public Wi-Fi works in the UK for the better, forever. I’d like to hear your thoughts on how you currently use Wi-Fi when you’re out and about – do you use a hotspot at the moment or do you find they’re more of a ‘notspot’? Let me know in the comments below.
Update: Which? has described our announcement as opening up 'a new way of getting online on the go for many smartphone, tablet and laptop users.'