Boingo Wireless, a Wi-Fi provider that offers T-Mobile and Verizon users hotspot access in the United States, has launched a new all-you-can-eat Internet access plan for laptops that is tailored to customers connecting primarily in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
“Boingo Europe Plus” gives laptop users unlimited access at more than 90,000 hotspots in Europe, Middle East and Africa for €27.95 ($34.95) per month . Usage outside the designated region is billed at €0.10 to €0.15 ($0.12 to $0.18 USD) per minute and includes almost 170,000 additional hotspots across Asia Pacific and the Americas.
“It’s part of our ongoing initiative to provide more flexibility to customers whose Internet access needs are concentrated in specific geographic regions,” said Dawn Callahan, vice president of consumer marketing, Boingo Wireless. “This provides an affordable option with expansive Wi-Fi coverage in EMEA, while also providing a pay-as-you-go option for usage outside your home region when you need it.”
Smartphone customers have the option to get online via “Boingo Mobile,” an unlimited plan that includes access to Boingo’s entire global network of more than 260,000 hotspots for £3.95, €4.95 or USD$7.95 per month. Boingo Mobile is available for most smartphone platforms, including Android, Blackberry, iPhone/iPod Touch, Nokia Nseries and Eseries, and Windows Mobile devices.
The UK’s mobile operator O2, a subsidiary of Spanish broadband and telecommunications provider Telefónica, which is big in Europe and Latin America, is planning to deploy 13,000 Wi-Fi hotspots over the next two years — with free internet access.
BSkyB has purchased The Cloud for £50 million. The Cloud, which had gross assets of £17.1 million at the end of 2009, launched its Wi-Fi hotspot business in 2003 and now has approximately 5000 hotspots in the UK and 22,000 in Europe. It also runs Wi-Fi hospitality spots in the Marriott and McDonalds.
BT’s OpenZone and Fon networks are currently the biggest networks in the UK. BT’s Fon network offers WiFi connections that piggyback on BT home broadband networks. But O2 said that its competing service would offer “premium public hotspots, as opposed to using residential connections with limited bandwidth” – a swipe at FON. The Cloud claims to have around 22,000 hotspots internationally, while Virgin Media is also toying with the idea of creating a nationwide wi-fi network, reports the BBC.
- Starbucks now offers free and unrestricted Internet access over Wi-Fi in its stores. Starbucks also plans to give Internet users in its stores free access to paid sites, including the Wall Street Journal. All U.S. company-operated Starbucks hot spots previously supported AT&T Wi-Fi service. A $5 or more Starbucks Card, would get you two consecutive hours of complimentary AT&T Wi-Fi daily. Now it’s all free.
- Barnes & Noble, the largest book chain in the United States, provides free WiFi for patrons, in a deal with AT&T. Barnes & Noble’s agreement with AT&T provides free Wi-Fi to all its customers because the company hopes to bring more customers into the store, and expand its current e-book catalog of 700,000 titles.
- Borders, the second-largest bookstore chain in the United States (after Barnes & Noble), provides free wireless Internet access in about 500 of its U.S. stores.
- McDonalds now offers free wireless Internet access at its U.S. restaurants, lifting a $2.95 fee that it had charged customers for two hours of wireless Internet access. It’s available at about 11,000 of its 14,000 domestic locations.
- Verizon is partnering with Boingo to deliver free WiFi access. Free Verizon Wi-Fi hot spot locations include hotels, airports, restaurants, coffee shops, retailers, convention centers and public locations across the U.S. Boingo’s network of Wi-Fi hotspots – which includes more than 100,000 locations around the world – IF you’re a Verizon FiOS or DSL broadband subscriber.
In other news, Amtrak Cascades is now offering Wi-Fi aboard all its Amtrak Cascades trains, in the Northwest. Look for the network “AmtrakConnectCascades”.