updated 01:20 pm EDT, Mon March 28, 2011
O2 to offer twice as many Wi-Fi hotspots in UK
In the UK, carrier O2 on Monday detailed plans to double the amount of free Wi-Fi hotspots it offers for its BT Openzone and the Cloud services. The carrier is seeing much more demand for data while on the go from smartphones. The provider will focus the Wi-Fi zones in areas such as high streets, public transport and stadiums.
An O2 representative says the Wi-Fi network is meant to supplant the 3G network, and not replace it. It will offer higher speeds than the often congested 3G network. Most of the traffic surge has been blamed on the iPhone's arrival, but Android has helped compound the issue.
The design is cast more as a way of guaranteeing quick access rather than a full-fledged replacement for 3G in some areas.
"What you're going to see is Wi-Fi popping up in places where anyone's got two minutes to update a profile, connect to the internet," head O2's Wi-Fi lead Gavin Franks told the BBC.
A timeline for doubling the hotspots hasn't been revealed. Earlier plans, however, have set out to cover the Tube and many areas of London by the start of the 2012 Olympics.