Not content with launching its first Windows Phone in the city last week, the Lumia 800, Nokia has now turned on free WiFi hotspots around London, giving mobile users
access to the web without the need to register or sign-in.
The two-month trial – the result of a partnership between Nokia and Spectrum
Interactive – has begun today and will be available from 26 hotspots (see map below) mostly based
around Oxford Street
and the West End.
There are additional hotspots in Victoria,
Marylebone, King’s Cross and Westminster.
However should the trial prove successful, it will be turned into a
fully-fledged Wi-Fi service in early 2012 with many more hotspots being added.
The hotspots are located on phone boxes owned and operated
by Spectrum Interactive and have speeds of up to 20Mbps, however users will be
limited to a maximum of 1Mbps to make sure that everyone can access the
Other companies have promised free access to Wi-Fi hotspots
in the capital, most recently Virgin Media who last August said it was in
“quite advanced negotiations” with London
councils to bring free Wi-Fi to the city.
While Virgin Media, like Nokia, plans on making the service
available to everyone for free, BT’s Openzone and The Cloud offer similar Wi-Fi
coverage but at a cost to most people.
“The trial is going to help us understand what people
are using it for so we can improve it in the future,” said Craig Hepburn,
Nokia’s director of digital and social media.
With the Olympics looming large, this innovation by Nokia
will be welcomed by the organisers, especially if the full service is rolled out
Have you managed to latch onto one of Nokia’s hotspots
today? Let us know in the comments.