Can I use O2's free WiFi in the UK to save on my mobile data allowance, even if I'm not an O2 customer? Here's how to sign up for an account, find your nearest O2 WiFi hotspot on your phone or tablet, and everything else you need to get connected to free WiFi.
Free O2 WiFi: What's the deal?
O2 has an extensive network of free public WiFi hotspots spread across the UK, and the good news is that you don't need to be an O2 broadband or O2 Mobile customer to get connected. You can be on any UK mobile network and still jump on O2's WiFi, like the massive freeloader you are.
Popular high street restaurants, shops, pubs and hangouts near you now boast free O2 WiFi, for you to use when you’re out and about. And with thousands of locations available in the UK, you're never often far from free internet.
Best of all, O2 WiFi is pretty reliable, at least in our experience. You often get much better speeds than with other free WiFi networks, so you can actually crack on with some work or stream some YouTube or Netflix during down-time.
Free O2 WiFi: Are there any hidden charges?
O2 WiFi is completely free to use. That means there are no contracts to sign, no payments or hidden charges and no obligations whatsoever. All you need to do is register for a free account, which requires a mobile number and an email address.
Free O2 WiFi: How do I register for O2 WiFi?
To register for O2 WiFi, you'll need either a laptop, Macbook, phone or tablet device with a WiFi connection.
Head to an O2 WiFi hotspot (see below) and open up the WiFi menu on your chosen device, and scan for available WiFi networks. A network called 'O2 Wifi' should pop up in the list. Give that a tap and your phone, tablet or laptop will connect to O2's network.
Now you have to register your phone number with O2 in order to use any of its nationwide networks. Thankfully this is a one-time process and pretty easy to do.
A window should pop up on-screen asking you to enter a few personal details, including your name and number. This number will be verified before you can proceed, so make sure you get it right. If a window doesn't pop up, try opening your web browser and going to any page. You should be redirected to O2's sign up page.
With that done, you're registered and good to go. Now any time you want to use free WiFi, just connect to the O2 Wifi network and enter your phone number to login.
Free O2 WiFi: How do I find my nearest O2 WiFi hotspot?
There are thousands of available O2 WiFi hotspots in the UK, at the time of writing. So as long as you aren't living in a field in the middle of nowhere, chances are you're only a short stroll away from your nearest free WiFi location.
Popular locations include fast food joints like McDonald's and Subway, cafe chains such as Costa Coffee, local pubs and even Pure Gym.
To find your nearest O2 WiFi hotspot, you can download the O2 WiFi app for Android, iOS or Windows phones. This is free to do and shows you all of the surrounding hotspots on a handy map.
If you're on your laptop, try heading to O2's WiFi locator instead. Just type in your location and the locator will do the rest.
Free O2 WiFi: How do I connect to an O2 WiFi hotspot with my phone or tablet?
Connecting to O2 WiFi is the same whether you’ve got an iPhone, Android phone or tablet.
When you’re in a venue or location where there’s O2 Wifi, activate WiFi on your device and select ‘O2 Wifi’ from the list of available hotspots.
Once this is done, open up a window in your phone or tablet’s browser. You should see an O2 WiFi page. Follow the instructions until you get to a Welcome page and then enter your credentials. As long as you've registered, you can now freely surf the internet.
Free O2 WiFi: How do I use O2 WiFi on my laptop?
Connecting to O2 WiFi on your laptop is basically the same process as connecting with your phone or tablet.
Check that your laptop’s WiFi is enabled and connect to 'O2 Wifi' in the settings. Open up an internet browser (O2 WiFi works with Internet Explorer, Safari, Chrome and Firefox) and you should see an O2 WiFi page.
From here, follow the on screen instructions until you get to a page where you’re prompted to enter your credentials. Once this is done, you’re free to use O2 WiFi.
Free O2 WiFi: How do I use O2 Wifi in Costa?
Costa's set up is a little different. You don't need to have an O2 WiFi password or to go through the same registration process. All you need to do is connect to an O2 WiFi point in Costa as normal and follow the on-screen instructions which pop up:
Enter your mobile number as before and you'll be texted a four digit code. Enter this in the field on the next screen and you'll get 30 minutes of free WiFi.
If you've got a Costa Coffee card and you've registered it here you can enter your card number instead of the code that gets sent to your phone.
Free O2 WiFi: Is there a time limit each time I get online?
This depends on the venue you’re in. In Costa venues for example, you get free use of O2 WiFi for 30 minutes. If you’re a Costa Coffee Club member, you get unlimited use.
Other venues don’t have a time limit on O2 WiFi use.
Free O2 WiFi: Is there a download limit on using O2 Wifi?
There’s no set download limit for users, but in an FAQ section of the O2 WiFi site for businesses, O2 states that ‘We have a fair usage policy that caps your download limit at 10GB.’
This 10GB is for the venue and not for customers, which is why in some places like Costa, where you’re perhaps more likely to sit down with your laptop and maybe do a bit of work, you’re incentivised into buying a coffee and signing up for the Coffee Card scheme in order to get unlimited WiFi use.