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UPDATE EE and Vodafone UK Confirm FREE London Virgin Media WiFi Deal

Wednesday, Nov 21st, 2012 (1:13 pm) - Score 820

Mobile operator EE appears to have accidentally leaked details that revealed the future direction for Virgin Media’s network of 72 free wireless internet access hotspots in the London underground (tube stations). UPDATE: Now it’s official.

The original plan was for Virgin Media to offer free access to its public wifi network in the London underground, albeit only during the 2012 London Olympic Games. After that the operator planned to adopt a paid model and would have continued to roll the service out to a further 48 tube stations by the end of 2012.

In October 2012 the situation changed when Virgin Media announced that its 72 strong network of wifi enabled stations would remain free until the end of 2012. The operator also said that it was in “positive talks with potential wholesale partners to ensure a fantastic experience for all Tube passengers throughout 2012 and beyond” (work to upgrade 48 additional stations appears to have stalled).

But this morning EE issued an unexpected update to both its Twitter stream and Facebook pages, which said that EE travellers on the tube “will be able to get WiFi access on the London Underground at no extra cost“, which would be introduced from early 2013. Further details were said to be following “soon” but minutes later both of the updates were pulled, albeit not before being re-tweeted around the internet.

The clear suggestion is that EE has officially become Virgin Media’s new wholesale partner for the network. Both operators declined to comment, although EE’s standard media statement said that they have “nothing to announce at this time“. It’s worth pointing out that EE also offers access to BT rival network of wifi hotspots, which is similarly included at no extra cost.

UPDATE 22nd November 2012

It’s now been confirmed that both EE (T-Mobile and Orange UK) and Vodafone have signed-up as wholesale partners for Virgin Media’s free WiFi service on the London Underground, which will begin from early 2013. In addition another 20 Tube stations will be installed with the service during December 2012 and a further 28 stations are due to come online early next year (slightly later than expected).

Jon James, Virgin Medias Executive Director of Broadband, 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.”

The next 20 stations are:

Oval
Belsize Park
Holloway Road
Russell Square
Clapham Common
Balham
Chalk Farm
Camden Town
Bounds Green
Finsbury Park
Mornington Crescent
Highgate
Hampstead
Seven Sisters
Lancaster Gate
Swiss Cottage
South Kensington
Turnpike Lane
Notting Hill Gate
Wood Green

Mark-Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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