Is the increased coverage and speed of 3G rendering wireless hotspots irrelevant? Not yet, but it's certainly putting the pressure on...
This week former monopolist British Telecom has announced a restructure of its Openzone WiFi offerings including extra hotspots and across the board price cuts of up to fifty per cent including the reduction of per minute rates in some instances down to just 0.5p.
2,500 hotspots will be added as a result of partnerships and launches, bringing BT's total international footprint to more than 50,000. As for the tariffs themselves, you'll now find four distinct options:
- 'BT Original' up to 500 minutes access to BT Openzone, BT FON and BT Business Total Broadband for £5.88pm. There's 12p per minute billing outside of this and a compulsory 12 month contract.
- 'BT Openzone Together' unlimited access to the three services listed above for £14.69pm. 500 minutes of roaming time bundled for third party UK hotspots as part of an 18 month contract.
- 'BT Openzone Global', the same as Openzone together but with 500 monthly minutes of international roaming for £32.90pm on a 12 month contract.
- 'BT Openzone per minute tariff', PAYG 18p per minute flat rate for domestic and international Openzone hotspots when signing a 12 month contract.
"The wireless broadband access market is at an exciting stage," said BT general manager Chris Bruce. "The last six months have seen double the use, with huge demand at hotels, major travel hubs, high street locations and residential & business areas. To make access easier, we?ve simplified our subscriptions so customers can understand what they?re getting and where they can use it.?
All new packages become available to new customers immediately with existing subscribers eligible at the end of their contracts and until the EC takes its long overdue hatchet to 3G data roaming costs they're likely to hold considerable appeal...