How to get free Wi-Fi anywhere: Make running out of data a thing of the past with our guide to finding free Wi-Fi near you. We explain what's on offer and how to access free Wi-Fi in the UK and around the world.
Despite living in a world of driverless cars and virtual reality, we’re still yet to enjoy free, unlimited Wi-Fi – even though internet access is now regarded as a human right by the UN.
It can all get a bit frustrating when you’re out and about and you find yourself burning through data and going over your allowance, but there are a number of ways you can enjoy free Wi-Fi wherever you are.
Here's all you need to know.
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How to get free Wi-Fi with BT
There are a couple of ways you can get on-the-go Wi-Fi access with BT, and it's especially good news for BT Broadband customers, who get free Wi-Fi as part of their subscription.
The company's core BT Wi-Fi network (formerly BT Openzone) is comprised of more than five million hotspots spread all over the UK, with the service available at public locations such as train stations, coffee shops, hotels, and more.
In some cases, like if you're sipping a soy latte at Starbucks, you're entitled to free Wi-Fi regardless of who your broadband provider is, but BT Broadband customers enjoy access to the full network – all you need is your BT ID and password.
Not with BT? You can still use the full range of BT Wi-Fi hotspots for a price, with rates starting at £4 for an hour of access, or £10 for a day's worth of usage.
In addition, BT has arrangements in place with Vodafone and EE. Depending on your tariff, you may be able to access the full BT Wi-Fi service for free as part of your contract.
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How to get free Wi-Fi with Fon
Fon is a global Wi-Fi network that uses a crowdsourced approach to give users access to free unlimited Wi-Fi wherever they are.
In the UK, it's partnered with BT, and works by having customers securely share a little bit of their own bandwidth with fellow subscribers, in exchange for access to other people's Fon portals all over the world – there are over 20 million hotspots internationally.
Think of it as a Wi-Fi sharing community, and all BT subscribers need to access it is their BT ID and password. Alternatively, you also can pay for access to BT Wi-Fi with Fon if you're not eligible.
How to get free Wi-Fi with O2
O2 makes it easy to get free Wi-Fi in the UK, with over 13,000 hotspots floating around waiting to help you get online.
Signing up is easy enough. Simply select O2 Wi-Fi from the network list and open a browser, after which you’ll be prompted to fill in a form including your mobile number and email address.
O2's free Wi-Fi hotspots can be used by anyone, not just O2 subscribers, but customers get an added bonus in that they will automatically connect to more than 7,000 of the network's hotspots after their first log-in.
Better still, O2 offers the handy O2 Wi-Fi app to help you find the hotspots nearest to you, and the UK mobile provider is partnered with a number of big brands, including Pizza Hut, Subway, Costa Coffee and a number of popular pub and bar chains including All Bar One.
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How to get free Wi-Fi with The Cloud
The UK's self-proclaimed 'largest public Wi-Fi network', The Cloud offers more than 20,000 hotspots around the land – BT has more overall hotspots, but access isn't universal.
Backed by Sky, Cloud hotspots can be found pretty much wherever you are, including at popular High Street venues like Caffè Nero, Wagamama, Pizza Express, EAT and perhaps most crucially, Wetherspoons.
Once you’re connected for the first time, The Cloud will remember who you are, so you don’t have to go through the faff of reconnecting every time you use it. You even name different devices for easier mobile Wi-Fi management.
The Cloud offers free Wi-Fi finder apps for Android and iOS to help you get connected.
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Know of any other nifty ways to get free Wi-Fi in the UK or abroad? Let us know in the comments below.