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UPD O2 UK Scrap Free BT Hotspots in Favour of its Own WiFi Network

Friday, May 31st, 2013 (2:27 am) - Score 705

Mobile operator O2 UK has abandoned their existing agreement with BTOpenzone (BTWiFi), which gave their customers access to thousands of BT’s additional national UK hotspots, in favour of their own O2Wifi network (8,000 free hotspots).

The writing for this has been on the wall ever since O2 began to “rapidly build” the coverage of their own FREE public WiFi (Wireless Internet) network in 2011 (here), which seems to have become even more important now that Sky Broadband (BSkyB) has dragged their fixed line broadband and phone customers to a new home. BT’s recent move into the 4G mobile market might also have made O2 extra nervous.

Since then business ISP Fluidata has also agreed to a new “multi-million pound contract” with O2, which will supply the mobile operator with a new core network and enough “last mile” data capacity to support the expansion of their wifi platform (here). Suffice to say that O2 and BT have been moving apart for the past few years but it takes time to build an alternative.

The FAQ page on O2’s website, which is titled “Goodbye BT Openzone. Hello O2 Wifi“, explains that the change itself will take effect from 1st July 2013. After that the only way to connect with a BTOpenzone hotspot will be if you pay them separately for the privilege or take one of BT’s fixed line broadband packages. Otherwise you’ll have to hope that O2 has one of its 8,000 hotspots near to your location.

UPDATE 9:04am

O2 has clarified that the old BT deal only gave customers access to Openzone’s “premium managed hotspot” estate, which apparently totals just 4.2k hotspots. Never the less that’s still 4.2k that O2 customers can no longer access.

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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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