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UK Members--What is the state of WiFi in the UK

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
The European launch will be here soon (late Q4 07). If the v1 iPhone is released there (I hope not, should be 3G) , I would like to know what the current state of WiFi is in the UK.

1--About how many hot spots are there in the UK now?

2--Are the number of hot spots increasing?

3--What's the percentage of free vs pay for hot spots?

4--Are the pay for hot spot prices reasonable?

5--Is the WiFi service good and fast?

If there are any other non-UK European members on the board who would like to chime in about their countries, that would be good.

Thanks.
post #2 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by lfe2211 View Post

The European launch will be here soon (late Q4 07). If the v1 iPhone is released there (I hope not, should be 3G) , I would like to know what the current state of WiFi is in the UK.

1--About how many hot spots are there in the UK now?

2--Are the number of hot spots increasing?

3--What's the percentage of free vs pay for hot spots?

4--Are the pay for hot spot prices reasonable?

5--Is the WiFi service good and fast?

If there are any other non-UK European members on the board who would like to chime in about their countries, that would be good.

Thanks.

According to the Wi-Fi Hotspot directory I found (www.hotspot-locations.com) there are around 2800 hotspots in the UK, just under 200 of which are free to access. That doesn't seem like a lot to me, so I have no idea if it's accurate.
post #3 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maffrew View Post

According to the Wi-Fi Hotspot directory I found (www.hotspot-locations.com) there are around 2800 hotspots in the UK, just under 200 of which are free to access. That doesn't seem like a lot to me, so I have no idea if it's accurate.

Do you personally use WiFi hot spots? Are they common on Trains, Ferries and in Airports? How about major hotel chains? Any cities have city-wide Wifi coverage like Philadelphia, Pa in the US?

Thanks.
post #4 of 21
Most hotspots I've seen are at cafes (not just internet cafes) and airports. All the ones I've seen are not free - usually they are run by T-Mobile or Vodaphone.

In short, the situation is pretty bad, at least in England and Scotland. I can't speak for N. Ireland or Wales...

Edit: If you're in the suburbs there's a good chance you'll find someone with an unprotected Wifi network. Of course hooking up to those is illegal
post #5 of 21
I think everybody in the UK should make their WiFi networks visible and set their passwords to "FuckBT".

I'll let you use mine if you let me use yours!

I'd love to see BTs reaction...
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post #6 of 21
Thread Starter 
The WiFi sutuation does not sound too good based on your observations. I'm interested because I am trying to guage whether a v1 iPhone has any chance in the UK or elsewhere in Europe.

Have you guys been following developments in UK and European WiMax? Do you think it will catch on or is the 3G telecom franchise too powerful to ever let WiMax take hold in the UK?

Thanks.
post #7 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by lfe2211 View Post

The WiFi sutuation does not sound too good based on your observations. I'm interested because I am trying to guage whether a v1 iPhone has any chance in the UK or elsewhere in Europe.

It will be introduced irrespective of wifi availability and possibly go 3G. I don't know of anyone who uses wifi on a mobile device, just 3G.

Do you think one day wifi will be everywhere and every computer owner will just pay a license like we all pay a TV license?
post #8 of 21
I don't think we'll see WiMax in the UK for a while yet. Not on a large scale anyway. WiFi hotspots can be found in all large hotels, most petrol stations, service stations, some public buildings and a few other places. I have never seen an open or free to use hotspot yet though. Most hotels will charge per hour, or allow unlimited use for a slightly higher room tariff. If you have BT broadband, you can get a certain number of free BT OpenZone minutes. I don't but the company I work for has several accounts that we can use.
post #9 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpinDrift View Post

I don't think we'll see WiMax in the UK for a while yet. Not on a large scale anyway. WiFi hotspots can be found in all large hotels, most petrol stations, service stations, some public buildings and a few other places. I have never seen an open or free to use hotspot yet though. Most hotels will charge per hour, or allow unlimited use for a slightly higher room tariff. If you have BT broadband, you can get a certain number of free BT OpenZone minutes. I don't but the company I work for has several accounts that we can use.

SpinDrift,

Do you think a v1 iPhone (no 3G) would spur significant increased use of existing UK WiFi networks?
post #10 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by lfe2211 View Post

SpinDrift,

Do you think a v1 iPhone (no 3G) would spur significant increased use of existing UK WiFi networks?

If the iPhone uptake in the UK is as high as it is in the US I do. I would certainly use it more and take full advantage of my access to BT Openzone mins.
post #11 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

It will be introduced irrespective of wifi availability and possibly go 3G. I don't know of anyone who uses wifi on a mobile device, just 3G.

Do you think one day wifi will be everywhere and every computer owner will just pay a license like we all pay a TV license?

The main WiFi Max problem is that 3G and 3.5G networks are already up and running on nationwide scales, and NTT DoCoMo in Japan has been testing 4G networks for a while now and they're pretty frickin' good:

Quote:
TOKYO, JAPAN, February 9, 2007 --- NTT DoCoMo, Inc. announced today that it achieved a maximum packet transmission rate of approximately 5Gbps in the downlink using 100MHz frequency bandwidth to a mobile station moving at 10km/h. The field experiment of fourth-generation (4G) radio access took place in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture on December 25, 2006.

After having achieved a maximum speed of 2.5Gbps on December 14, 2005, DoCoMo doubled the speed in the more recent test by increasing the number of MIMO* transmitting and receiving antennas from six to 12 each, and by using proprietary received signal processing technology.

Frankly I bet that telecoms will be dragged kicking and screaming to become ISPs + some services (i.e the higher level packages will include TV or location services or whatever and data/voice will just be unlimited) and you'll subscribe to their network for your mobile and computer and then we can ditch this whole WiFi hotspot thing outside the home/office.


Quote:
Originally Posted by SpinDrift View Post

I don't think we'll see WiMax in the UK for a while yet. Not on a large scale anyway. WiFi hotspots can be found in all large hotels, most petrol stations, service stations, some public buildings and a few other places. I have never seen an open or free to use hotspot yet though. Most hotels will charge per hour, or allow unlimited use for a slightly higher room tariff. If you have BT broadband, you can get a certain number of free BT OpenZone minutes. I don't but the company I work for has several accounts that we can use.

Yeah that's the other big problem with WiFi in Europe. Although the UK/Ireland lead the world in per capita WiFi hotspots it's mostly pay stuff and continental Europe both has less hotspots and still few free ones.

I'm really really hoping Apple releases a 3G iPhone for Europe in December or so.
post #12 of 21
Thread Starter 
It looks like Telefonica O2 is the winner of the UK iPhone sweepstakes. UK members, Is this good or bad?

http://www.forbes.com/markets/feeds/...fx3910584.html
post #13 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by lfe2211 View Post

It looks like Telefonica O2 is the winner of the UK iPhone sweepstakes. UK members, Is this good or bad?

http://www.forbes.com/markets/feeds/...fx3910584.html

If O2 do win the contract, that would be bad in my opinion. O2 are one of the least popular and their network sucks. I'm still holding hope for Orange with Voda as my second choice.
post #14 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpinDrift View Post

If O2 do win the contract, that would be bad in my opinion. O2 are one of the least popular and their network sucks. I'm still holding hope for Orange with Voda as my second choice.

SpinDrift,

Why did Apple choose O2 (if they did)?
post #15 of 21
I'm pretty sure the only operator in the UK that has an EDGE network is Orange (and they don't even talk about it).

Alternatively T-Mobile has the best collection of WiFi hotspots and the best current data rates.

Vodafone gives them the best pan-European reach if they do the smart thing and launch beyond just UK/France/Germany.

I really have no frickin' clue what's going on with Apple in Europe.

Can it possibly be worth it for O2 to upgrade their GPRS network to EDGE just for the iPhone? Is Apple actually coming out with a 3G model? Argh!

That said O2 does have the worst 3G network in the UK so perhaps it's to make Apple look good:
Quote:
We know the iPhone doesn't have 3G but since O2's coverage isn't great that's actually a plus; instead you do have lovely (super-slow) GPRS and for-pay WiFi hotspots, very few of which are ours… oh. Erm.
post #16 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Electric Monk View Post

I'm pretty sure the only operator in the UK that has an EDGE network is Orange (and they don't even talk about it).

Alternatively T-Mobile has the best collection of WiFi hotspots and the best current data rates.

Vodafone gives them the best pan-European reach if they do the smart thing and launch beyond just UK/France/Germany.

I really have no frickin' clue what's going on with Apple in Europe.

Can it possibly be worth it for O2 to upgrade their GPRS network to EDGE just for the iPhone? Is Apple actually coming out with a 3G model? Argh!

That said O2 does have the worst 3G network in the UK so perhaps it's to make Apple look good:

Thanks for the info EM. O2 sounds awful. WTF is Apple doing? I hope some more UK folks chime in with their opinions.
post #17 of 21
There is a problem...

IMO, they should make a system so that wifi phones are able to access all wifi networks, tag the connections so providers know who used how much bandwidth so it's traceable.

but,

Now the problem:
Wifi systems have nothing to do with mobile phone providers, so they can't make money on that.
A solution would be to merge internet & mobile phone providers, tough task...
We all like wifi cause it seems cheap if U are using someone elses network...

Another problem is coverage and the use of different systems in the world.

We'll see what happens.
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post #18 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by lfe2211 View Post

It looks like Telefonica O2 is the winner of the UK iPhone sweepstakes. UK members, Is this good or bad?

http://www.forbes.com/markets/feeds/...fx3910584.html

As I mentioned in another thread, I think this is a good thing. Orange and Vodaphone are like dinosaurs in the phone market. They've been around for a long time and they've only gotten worse as time progressed. Orange used to do nice stuff like Orange Wednesdays where you could get cheap cinema tickets, but these days they seem more interested in gimmicky service plans (based on animals - why?) and pissing people off.

O2 is relatively new and will to try new things. Like the O2 arena where you can use your mobile phone as an electronic ticket. Where they will print out and burn CDs of your photos and movies. Where you can text your wallpaper image to a huge 40 foot screen. I think they make a good match for Apple because they are more innovative than Orange and Vodaphone. T-Mobile and 3 are also pretty cool, but they don't really have as much network coverage as O2.

Orange and Vodaphone's customer satisfaction ratings have also gone down over the years - Orange is currently the worst in the UK I seem to remember seeing in the news a few days ago. But you can see it for yourself in their stores. The shop staff are generally rude, lazy and really only interested in selling crap, not helping customers.

Anyway, that's just my opinion as an Orange user. I look at companies like O2 (and 3) as newcomers with something to prove - they have far more reason to impress customers because they are not the market leader, much like Apple.
post #19 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by yama View Post

As I mentioned in another thread, I think this is a good thing. Orange and Vodaphone are like dinosaurs in the phone market. They've been around for a long time and they've only gotten worse as time progressed. Orange used to do nice stuff like Orange Wednesdays where you could get cheap cinema tickets, but these days they seem more interested in gimmicky service plans (based on animals - why?) and pissing people off.

O2 is relatively new and will to try new things. Like the O2 arena where you can use your mobile phone as an electronic ticket. Where they will print out and burn CDs of your photos and movies. Where you can text your wallpaper image to a huge 40 foot screen. I think they make a good match for Apple because they are more innovative than Orange and Vodaphone. T-Mobile and 3 are also pretty cool, but they don't really have as much network coverage as O2.

Orange and Vodaphone's customer satisfaction ratings have also gone down over the years - Orange is currently the worst in the UK I seem to remember seeing in the news a few days ago. But you can see it for yourself in their stores. The shop staff are generally rude, lazy and really only interested in selling crap, not helping customers.

Anyway, that's just my opinion as an Orange user. I look at companies like O2 (and 3) as newcomers with something to prove - they have far more reason to impress customers because they are not the market leader, much like Apple.

I must say that I don't agree with that at all. For a start Orange and Vodafone may have been about for a while, but they are certainly not dinosaurs. Orange service plans may have animal names, but so does OS X! I wouldn't say they were gimmicks, just easy to remember.

O2 are not new either. They were BTCelnet before BT sold out to Spain and they haven't advanced their network and kept up with the likes of Orange and Vodafone. I would say that their ineffective and unused ticketing system and 40' wallpaper stuff were gimmicks, they don't offer any real service.

Also you misread the Mobile customer satisfaction survey. Orange have actually came out top for the past few years.
post #20 of 21
Quote:
Why did Apple choose O2 (if they did)?

If they did, it's probably because they were willing to drop their pants the lowest!
post #21 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpinDrift View Post

For a start Orange and Vodafone may have been about for a while, but they are certainly not dinosaurs. Orange service plans may have animal names, but so does OS X! I wouldn't say they were gimmicks, just easy to remember.

They also happen to be worse than some of their old deals where they had a lot more options. Orange used to have one particularly nice pay-as-you-go contract where they would charge only as much as you talked per month with no additional fees. That's gone now. Most people I know, friends and people at work, some of whom have worked in the telecoms industry are all steadily quitting Orange to join other networks because they offer better deals, or they're just sick of dealing with Orange.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SpinDrift View Post

O2 are not new either. They were BTCelnet before BT sold out to Spain and they haven't advanced their network and kept up with the likes of Orange and Vodafone.

O2 are now an entirely different beast from when BT used to own them. Under BT they were rubbish I agree, but they have changed dramatically ever since they were taken over by Telefónica last year. Sure, they don't have the same amount of infrastructure in place that Vodaphone and Orange have, but those two have been around longer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SpinDrift View Post

I would say that their ineffective and unused ticketing system and 40' wallpaper stuff were gimmicks, they don't offer any real service.

They do show that the company is willing to try new things with new technology. People who've been to the O2 Arena seem to enjoy the "gimmicks" and so far the whole thing has been quite successful.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SpinDrift View Post

Also you misread the Mobile customer satisfaction survey. Orange have actually came out top for the past few years.

Gosh, let's look at this survey from May 2007:

http://www.jdpower.com/corporate/new...spx?ID=2007067

Hmmmm. Looks like Orange is in fact the *worst* in the contract survey and second worst in the pre-pay chart.

If you start going back a few years to 2005 and earlier, you'll see Orange, Vodaphone and Virgin Mobile start showing up more often at the top. This was back when T-Mobile and 3 hadn't taken off yet because most people didn't care about 3G networks which were their speciality. It was also back when O2 was still under BT and hence, rubbish.
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