Mobile operator O2 will no longer restrict access to its UK hotspots, and plans to make a vast network: O2 has included free access at about 450 locations with some of its mobile subscription plans. Now, it's opening up its network, using advertising to subsidize it. The Register reports that free use will require giving up your phone number, too, in order to receive a text message with an activation code.
O2 said it would build out nearly double the number of locations operated by current partners, The Cloud and BT OpenZone, which is 7,500. I find it hard to imagine that it can easily find 13,000 venues (the number the Register reported) in which to offer service.
Meanwhile, rumors abound that The Cloud will be bought by the satellite television operator BSkyB to extend its reach. BSkyB uses terrestrial DSL alongside its satellite offerings. Adding Wi-Fi allows it to compete with BT, which operates the OpenZone hotspot network.
AT&T Wi-Fi Connections Keep High Growth with Free Service