O2 to offer free O2 Wifi network

Free Wi-Fi? Anyone can use it? No, we're too early for an April Fool's Day joke. This is actually real policy from O2, with the first opportunity to use the free O2 Wifi coming in March.

According to TechRadar, O2 will be offering free Wi-Fi for your smartphone (and other devices) via a system of Wi-Fi hotspots in retailers and public spaces around the UK, with the money being made out of commercial partners rather than you, the phone user. All you have to do is spend a few minutes signing up to access.

According to Gavin Franks, MD of O2 Wifi: 'We're going to transform the stagnant Wi-Fi market with O2 Wifi. 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. Our main aim was to make it better than what's already available; with consistent data speeds and a focus on usability. I genuinely believe it will transform the market and force The Cloud and BT Openzone to reassess their services.'

It's apparently not just to relieve strain on O2's data networks either, with Tim Sefton, O2's New Business Development Director adding: 'Our network is in a really good position. We have no concerns about its capability to deliver the data capacity required by our customers. Reducing strain on the network is a secondary benefit to the Wi-Fi network, and not a primary driver.'

The O2 Wifi service will launch in O2 retail stores in March, with commercial partners, including shops and fast food chains, adding their premises to the network from the middle of this year.

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