Espoo’s finest phone manufacturer and former rubber tyre flogger Nokia is no longer funding the free London Wi-Fi service it jointly set up last year.
Providing free Wi-Fi to 26 locations in central London, Nokia used the service as part of its promotional drive for the Nokia Lumia 800. The hot spots were (somewhat ironically) situated on telephone boxes owned by Wi-Fi provider Spectrum Interactive.
A three-way tie between Nokia, Spectrum Interactive and Selective Media, the service is now thought to be rolling out to a total of 1,800 extra Spectrum hotspots.
Speaking to Mobile Europe, a Nokia spokesperson said: “Nokia were sponsors of the initial trial, although we are no longer involved in the project we are delighted to see the roll out offering more London shoppers the opportunity to use Wi-Fi.”
With Nokia out of the equation, it’s thought that Spectrum and Selective will promote use of its Wi-Fi hotspots with vouchers. You’ll be able to get free Wi-Fi so long as you agree to make use of a promotional voucher. No high street names have been mentioned yet.
Spectrum Interactive already has deals in place with Beefeater, Brewers Fayre, Table Table, and Taybarns restaurant chains and Flybe and Virgin Atlantic – some air miles with your Wi-Fi sir?
Recently we’ve seen Costa partner with O2, giving casual coffee drinkers 30 minutes of free Wi-Fi. More committed card-carrying coffee quaffers can now jack in to unlimited Wi-Fi goodness in all Costa outlets.
Sky has also been busy inking deals with Transport for London, Pret A Manger, EAT, Pizza Express, JD Wetherspoon and Caffe Nero, bringing Cloud Wi-Fi access to a number of stations, stores and branches.
Update: As well as serving London with voucher-funded Wi-Fi, Spectrum Interactive and Selective Media will be branching out beyond the capital. Of the 1,800 new Wi-Fi points planned, 1,500 of them will be located within the M25.
Spectrum’s Wi-Fi points in town will show up as “FREE Street WiFi” on your phone, tablet or laptop. Currently, Spectrum points can be found in the Bayswater, Bloomsbury, Knightsbridge, Lancaster Gate, Mayfair, Oxford Street, South Kensington and Tottenham Court Road areas of London.