Following earlier speculation, Virgin Media has confirmed that EE and Vodafone are to piggy back on its London Underground Wi-Fi network, offering customers free access to the sub-surface service from early 2013.
Prematurely announced via the official EE Twitter feed this morning, Virgin Media has confirmed that both Vodafone and the UK’s first 4G network are to become wholesale partners for the Underground Wi-Fi service. Although currently free to all, customers of both networks will continue to enjoy free access to the online service after the planned pay wall is introduced next year.
“WiFi on London Underground has been an incredible success with over 700,000 people already online and a remarkable million sessions every day,” Jon James, Executive Direct of Broadband at Virgin Media said. “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.”
Currently available at 72 London Underground station, the Virgin Media Wi-Fi network will be expanded across a further 20 stations before the end of the year with another 28 stations to be added in early 2013.
Letting slip about the impending deal via Twitter, EE took to the social networking site to declare: “Travel on the tube? From early 2013, EE customers will be able to get WiFi access on the London Underground at no extra cost. Details soon.” It quickly deleted the message but not before causing a raft of rumours and excitement.
Speaking on the official announcement, Pippa Dunn, Chief Marketing Officer at EE, said: “It’s great that Orange, T-Mobile and EE mobile customers will soon get access to Underground WiFi included in their plan, at no extra cost. We know that our customers want the best and the fastest connections wherever they are – and with the largest 3G network and with 4G and Fibre on EE, we already offer customers superfast internet in the home, office and on the move. With Underground WiFi now they can stay connected on the London Underground as well.”
Saving London based Vodafone and EE customers a potentially sizable chunk of money, the newly confirmed deal will see users avoid the £2 per day Pay As You Go fees Virgin Media is set to introduce to its Tube-based Wi-Fi service.
“WiFi is a great way to keep our Tube customers up-to-date with live travel information and other news and entertainment,” Gareth Powell, Director of Strategy and Service Development for London Underground, said. “We are delighted that Virgin Media is giving the majority of Londoners the chance to continue to enjoy WiFi at no extra cost next year and beyond.”
Are you an EE or Vodafone customer? Will London Underground Wi-Fi access enhance your user experience or be another less than useful ‘perk’? Let us know via the Trusted Reviews Twitter and Facebook feeds or through the comments boxes below.