O2 have recently announced that they will be creating and expanding their own network of wireless hotspots.
O2 customers already have free access to The Cloud and BT Openzone, but O2 look to “at least double” the current number of hotspots available. You also won’t have to be a paying O2 customer to use it, though you will need to take a minute to register with the service.
Talking to Techradar, Gavin Franks, MD of O2 Wi-Fi said, “Demands on public Wi-Fi have changed drastically over the last three years; it’s no longer about getting your laptop out in a coffee shop for half an hour. Now people want to use it for five minutes in a shop to update their Facebook status instead.”
Looking to compete with The Cloud and BT Openzone networks, O2 will launch the hotspots network initially in their own retail stores in March, and then across other shops, fast food chains and public spaces in the summer.
Tim Sefton, O2’s New Business Development Director, denied that O2 was looking to reduce the strain of high data downloads on the 3G network.
“Our network is in a really good position. We have no concerns about its capability to deliver the data capacity required by our customers,” he said. “Reducing strain on the network is a secondary benefit to the Wi-Fi network, and not a primary driver.”