Londoners enjoyed not only "the greatest show on earth" this summer, but also free tube WiFi courtesy of Virgin Media. It's due to remain complimentary for what's left of the year, but if you're with EE, you'll be able to continue updating your status from subterranean platforms in 2013. The UK 's first 4G provider has struck a deal to hook its customers up to Virgin's underground WiFi infrastructure, although the announcement seems to have gone out a little earlier than planned. EE tweeted the news then swiftly retracted it, but has since replied to Mr. Miles at Pocket-lint confirming the partnership, at least for however long that message stays... yep, it's gone. If you're not on EE, don't get your sad face on just yet, as there are rumors circulating that other carriers will be piggybacking on Virgin's hotspots, too -- they just haven't accidentally announced it yet.
Update: It's now officially official, and Vodafone's on board as well. Next year, tube WiFi will stay free for those signed with either EE or Voda, and Virgin will be offering pay-as-you-go options for those that aren't: daily, weekly or monthly access from £2 per day (roughly $3.20). Virgin is also hooking up another 48 stations, with 20 due to be switched on this December and 28 in early 2013. If you're wondering whether your local station is one of the score being hooked up this month, they're all listed in the PR below.
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EE and Vodafone sign up to Virgin Media WiFi on London's Underground
Virgin Media confirms plans for Underground WiFi after 2012 launch
Virgin Media, EE and Vodafone customers to enjoy WiFi at no extra cost
48 new stations to expand reach of service
Virgin Media has signed up EE and Vodafone as wholesale partners for its WiFi service on London Underground. Millions of EE, Vodafone and Virgin Media customers will be able to enjoy full WiFi access across London Underground following the deal, keeping the majority of Tube passengers connected for no extra cost.
Jon James, executive director of broadband at Virgin Media said: "WiFi on London Underground has been an incredible success with over 700,000 people already online and a remarkable million sessions every day. 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. We're delighted that Virgin Media customers are making the most of our superfast fibre optic network, both at home with unbeatable broadband speeds and now with our ground-breaking WiFi service."
Pippa Dunn, Chief Marketing Officer at EE, said: "It's great that Orange, T-Mobile and EE mobile customers will soon get access to Underground WiFi included in their plan, at no extra cost. We know that our customers want the best and the fastest connections wherever they are - and with the largest 3G network and with 4G and Fibre on EE, we already offer customers superfast internet in the home, office and on the move. With Underground WiFi now they can stay connected on the London Underground as well."
Srini Gopalan, Consumer Director, Vodafone UK, said: "We want to put the internet into people's hands wherever they are and that certainly includes major transport links. We already spend £1.8m a day on our UK network, giving our customers the depth and breadth of coverage that they expect whenever they need it, and we invested heavily in London ahead of the Olympics and Diamond Jubilee this Summer. Now this deal will take us on a journey to the heart of the London Underground, ensuring our customers can stay connected even when they are beneath the streets of the capital."
Gareth Powell, Director of Strategy and Service Development for London Underground, said: "WiFi is a great way to keep our Tube customers up-to-date with live travel information and other news and entertainment. We are delighted that Virgin Media is giving the majority of Londoners the chance to continue to enjoy WiFi at no extra cost next year and beyond."
Following a hugely successful launch, Virgin Media is offering free WiFi on London Underground throughout 2012. In 2013 and beyond, Virgin Media's comprehensive WiFi portal will continue to keep all Tube passengers up-to-date with TfL travel information and great London entertainment and news for free. As the service rolls out to Virgin Media, Vodafone, EE, Orange and T-Mobile customers, Virgin Media will also launch a Pay As You Go service with daily, weekly and monthly passes starting from £2 per day, giving Tube passengers a range of options about how to get online underground.
72 London Underground stations are already WiFi enabled and Virgin Media is working in partnership with Transport for London to install another 20 Tube stations in December with a further 28 stations due to come online early next year.
The WiFi service allows London Underground travellers to connect to the internet and view live travel information, news and entertainment at Tube stations across the capital.
Virgin Media's wireless services are designed to help meet the increasing demand for mobile data, growing 84% year on year and expected to account for 11% of total internet traffic by 2015.
Another 20 London Underground stations will be WiFi enabled in December with a further 28 stations to come online early 2013. The next 20 stations are:
Notting Hill Gate
72 London Underground stations are already WiFi enabled. To keep up-to-date with the roll-out, please visit www.virginmedia.com/wifi or www.tfl.gov.uk/wifi