O2 to fling out free Wi-Fi for all
Hotspots galore (and lots of lovely ads)
O2 is planning to deploy 13,000 Wi-Fi hotspots over the next two years, with free internet access in exchange for your mobile number and a few quid from the venue.
The network won't just be for O2 customers: anyone with a mobile phone will be able to sign up to the service, which will provide free internet access while logging the customer's location and details for better delivery of targeted advertising. This will all be paid for by the venue, which might also like to make use of that advertising channel.
O2 already offers its premium subscribers (including iPhone users) access to hotspots run by The Cloud and BT OpenZone totalling around 7,500, and those deals will remain in place while O2 deploys its new free-to-all Wi-Fi network.
Newly-appointed MD of O2 Wi-Fi Gavin Franks expects to see venues such as supermarkets and department stores offering free 02-branded Wi-Fi.
Users wanting to take advantage will need to provide a mobile phone number, from any network, which will be confirmed with a text message. O2 then links the number to the MAC code (unique identity) of the kit connected, enabling it to automatically authorise future connections as well as spotting when the customer enters an area covered - enabling the delivery of the aforementioned advertising by text message or MMS.
But O2 reckons that venues hosting the service will pay for it, so targeted advertising is just a sideline. The company reminded us that 1.4 million O2 customers have already signed up for targeted advertising via O2 More, without the promise of free connectivity to entice them into it. ®
Wrong way round. Register with the phone, edit your computer's mac to be the same as the phone. Free laptop wifi. Genius!
I do have a theory....
.... about all this free stuff.
For me, the world would be a much nicer place, more relaxing, less frustrating and, possibly, fractionally cheaper, without advertising.
Advertising is paid for by all, by everybody, regardless of whether one uses that service or not. For O2 to call the service "free" is disingenuous, as it is of all 'ad-funded' service; the retailer or service provider wraps up the cost of the advertising into their "over head" and is passed on to all it's consumers.
Now think of a world without advertising : you pay for the services you use, nothing more. There are no adverts sucking bandwidth, getting in the way of what you actually want to do, both in terms of screen space and time.
For me, I use FireFox and Add Block Plus which works like a dream. On the rare occasions I have to use IE, I despair at the amount of trash, gunk and rubbish there is on the web, in the form of banners, adverts and click-throughs.
Really, the last thing we need is more advertising. It would be nice if the UK made something, rather than just pumping adverts out all the time…….
Conflict of interest?
When 3G works well, it's brilliant. Make it better and you wouldn't need wifi out the home. But now, O2 have an interest in you needing/wanting wifi rather than good mobile connectivity.
I dunno if that's obvious or I need a tinfoil hat...