O2 today announced that it would be launching a national FREE WiFi network across the UK that will be open for all customers to access for free, no matter which mobile or broadband provider they are with.
It will begin rollout immediately by replacing its existing 450 Cloud hotspots in its retail and office estate and continue expanding by forming partnerships with local businesses and venue such as shops and restaurants. O2 claims the service will be unique in that it will be genuinely free to use and offer fast access as every hotspot will be a full network provded access points not piggy-backing on low bandwidth residential connections like BT Fon and many BT OpenZone hotspots do. The service will most likely have some sort of account usage limit as O2 can’t sustain unlimited downloads of music and movies,
The move will be of huge benefit to the O2 network which is already creaking under the strain of increased mobile data usage, which is growing exponentially. By offloading some of this data usage to a solid broadband infrastructure they can help provide better quality of service for mobile data users and decrease the required spend on trying to improve the spend on upgrading the mobile network.