The phrase, ‘I told you so’, certainly springs to mind, as following on from this morning’s denial, or at least refusal to comment in light of talk that EE and Vodafone wanted to offer WiFi to customers by utilising Virgin’s infrastructure, the company has now issued a press release confirming that both mobile carriers will be entering into a wholesale partnership with them to offer their own customers a similar service on the Underground.
The Underground WiFi network was originally set in place by Virgin Media ahead of the 2012 Olympic Games and as the year has progressed on, more Tube stations have received a WiFi-centric overhaul, with the current total standing at 72. Following this latest move, Virgin have also revealed that by December this year an additional 20 stations will feature WiFi access and a further 28 will then join the fray in the first portion of 2013.
Jon James, Executive Director of Broadband at Virgin Media said, “We’re rolling out the service to reach even more stations throughout London, from Camden Town to Clapham Common and, thanks to our partnership with EE and Vodafone, the majority of Tube users can stay connected for no extra cost. ”
EE’s and Vodafone’s respective services are expect to kick off at the start of next year and between all three companies, they represent around 76% of all mobile users in Greater London. Meanwhile the likes of rival carriers such as O2 are confirmed to have no such plans to join in offering their customers WiFi access on the London Underground, despite already having a robust inner city street level WiFi network. Virgin also revealed initial pricing for those wishing to use the service once it’s no longer gratis, with a PAYG system weighing in at £2 a day. Further pricing for various devices and lengths of time was not discussed at this stage.
The full list of additional Tube stations to offer WiFi by the end of 2012 can be seen below: