O2 plans to deploy 13,000 WiFi hotspots during the next two years, making its money from venues that are expected to shell out some money in exchange for giving their patrons free WiFi.
O2 UK will offer free Internet access to any mobile user in exchange for a user's mobile phone number and money from the venue that will see WiFi coverage. The idea is to log a user's location and details for targeted advertising, and the venue paying for the WiFi service could also make use of the advertising channel.
O2 already offers a rather massive WiFi footprint of hotspots run by The Cloud and BT OpenZone, and its premium subscribers have access to those 7,500 hotspots for free. O2 anticipates venues such as supermarkets and department stores offering free O2-branded WiFi services.
O2 claims that 1.4 million of its own customers have already signed up for targeted advertising via O2 More, without the promise of free connectivity.
- see this article from The Register
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