O2 is making good on its promise to coat the busiest parts of London in free WiFi. Between now and the end of July, seven locations including Oxford Street, Regent Street, Exhibition Road, Leicester and Piccadilly Squares will offer unfettered access -- even if you don't subscribe to O2's cellphone network. There's no word on if the network will remain free forever, but given the painful time we spent crouching in Starbucks doorways on recent trips to New York and Paris, we hope the company does the right thing for the sake of harassed visitors to the capital.
Landmark free O2 Wifi deal gives London another reason to celebrate this summer
25 Jul 2012 09:00 - From today, tourists, visitors and Londoners alike can enjoy free O2 Wifi in some of the busiest parts of London. Iconic areas such as Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus and Exhibition Road are amongst the seven squares and shopping streets benefiting from the landmark deal between Westminster City Council, the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea and communications provider O2.
Running at no cost to the council or the taxpayer, the scheme enables millions of people living in or visiting the capital to enjoy fast, free, reliable wifi whilst out and about. O2 Wifi is free for everyone, regardless of network or broadband provider and once registered, customers will be automatically connected each time they enter a coverage area. With over a million visitors and commuters daily and a 13% increase expected during the Summers' festivities the new network will enable Londoners and visitors to the city share their pictures and updates of the events, or check on transport links, for free.
The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: "With millions of extra people coming to town for the Games, we want to ensure we showcase the capital as the best city in the world to work and visit, and the addition of free Wifi to some of our most popular landmarks is crucial in helping to maintaining that reputation."
Content on the homepage will be automatically updated depending on the users' location and the UK's leading premium department store, House of Fraser, will be the first exclusive advertiser across the outdoor O2 Wifi network.
A recent survey of Westminster residents revealed that 69% own a smartphone compared to 43% of the total UK population. This figure rises to 81% among 25-44 year-olds in Westminster and even 25% of over 60s have a smartphone. In addition, 23% of all Westminster residents own an iPad compared to just 12% of the population nationwide, proving Westminster residents to be some of the most connected in the UK.
Gavin Franks, MD of O2 Wifi said, "We are proud to announce that today, we can bring O2 Wifi to some of the busiest streets and squares of central London. We are now providing Londoners and visitors alike with fast, free, reliable wifi when visiting some of the busiest areas in Westminster and Kensington & Chelsea. This comes after a succession of venue announcements with partners like Costa Coffee, House of Fraser and McDonald's.
O2 Wifi was launched fifteen months ago and in that time we have transformed the wifi market with innovation and fresh thinking."