Virgin Media signs up Vodafone and EE for London Underground Wi-Fi service
Customers on other networks to pay £2 a day for online access
Details of how Virgin Media will use its network of Wi-Fi access points on the London Underground post-Olympics have finally been revealed, with pricing for paid access being announced alongside details of how selected mobile subscribers can use the system for free.
Originally introduced to provide connectivity for those travelling to or from the Olympics, the Wi-Fi network currently covers 72 stations on the London Underground network, with an additional 20 stations due to go online by the end of the year and further 28 to follow in early 2013.
Currently, the network - developed and installed by Virgin Media - is provided to all free of charge, but that will come to a close some time early next year. After that, those who wish to get online during their commute will be asked to pay £2 for a day's access, £5 for a week's access, or £15 for a full month of access to the system.
Not all commuters will be asked to part with their cash, however: those who have a Virgin Media contract will be given free access to the network, while partnerships with Vodafone, EE and its sub-brands Orange and T-Mobile mean customers on those networks will also receive access to the network free of charge. Those using other mobile networks, including 3 and O2, however, will be asked to pay once the universal free service ends next year.
Jon James, executive director of broadband at Virgin Media said “WiFi on London Underground has been an incredible success with over 700,000 people already online and a remarkable million sessions every day. We’re rolling out the service to reach even more stations throughout London, from Camden Town to Clapham Common and, thanks to our partnership with EE and Vodafone, the majority of Tube users can stay connected for no extra cost.”
With the London Underground still one of the few places where it's near-impossible to get a usable mobile signal, Virgin Media could well have found a way to tempt users to jump ship from rival networks to its own phone service - or, at least, those from its partners.