Back in 2011 TFL announced plans to put Virgin Media WiFi hotspots in a selection of London Underground stations for the 2012 London Olympics. This was then rolled out to the rest of the network, allowing everyone to use them for a while before then restricting it based on the mobile network you were with. EE, Virgin and Vodafone got to use the network for free in stations and concourses, with O2 joining in April 2013. This left just Three (of the main networks) out in the cold and their customers having to pay for a daily, weekly or monthly pass if they wanted access.
Now Three have joined the party and, before the end of the month, Three customers will be able to log into the hotspots without seeing a page asking for money or the TFL service page. This has been confirmed by the Three Director of Customer Strategy, Danny Dixon in an interview with Techradar.
So, Three customers should now have a free 4G upgrade in London and access to wireless broadband in the stations, but not the tunnels – not too shabby really.
Update – Virgin have now confirmed this story and will also be adding 7 more stations next week to the underground WiFi network. They include Bow Road, Ealing Broadway, Edgware Road (Bakerloo line), Hammersmith (Hammersmith and City line) and Harrow-on-the-Hill.
The WiFi service will be available to Three customers at no extra cost by the end of July.
Three customers on board with Virgin Media WiFi on London Underground
· Three customers can enjoy WiFi on the Tube at no extra cost
· Every mobile operator now signed up for WiFi with Virgin Media
· Virgin Media to connect seven more Tube stations next week
Virgin Media has welcomed Three on board as the latest wholesale partner for its WiFi on London Underground service. By the end of July, Three customers will be able to enjoy full access to Virgin Media WiFi at over 1371 Tube stations for no extra cost, enabling them to check their emails, look up journey times, keep up with the latest news and stay in touch with friends and family whilst underground.
The deal means every UK mobile operator2 is now a wholesale partner for Virgin Media’s WiFi service and the vast majority3 of Tube passengers can get online throughout ticket halls, down the escalators and on platforms in connected stations.
The total number of London Underground stations enabled with WiFi is also set to jump to 144 next week when Virgin Media brings another seven4 stations online, including Edgware Road and Ealing Broadway.
Joe Lathan, director of broadband at Virgin Media said: “With every network operator now on board with Virgin Media WiFi on London Underground, it is great to know we are keeping people on the Tube connected at no extra cost. Our unique fibre optic network has enabled us to bring connectivity to even the deepest Tube stations and we’re looking forward to getting even more parts of the capital online next week.”
Danny Dixon, director of customer strategy, Three said: “Giving our customers access to free WiFi on the London underground is another step towards them being able to enjoy the benefits of being connected no matter where they are. Our customers will also have the added benefit of being able to use our new Three InTouch app, which means they will be able to surf the web, as well as make and receive calls and texts when they are in Wi-Fi enabled London tube stations.”
Gareth Powell, London Underground’s Director of Strategy and Service Development for London Underground, said: “WiFi on the Tube is one of many ways we’re improving our customers’ journeys and the service has moved from strength to strength since it launched in time for the London 2012 Olympic Games. We’re delighted that another mobile operator is on board because it means more of our customers benefit from live travel information, news and social media throughout the majority of our stations.”
All Tube passengers can keep up-to-date with TfL travel information and top notch London entertainment and news for free through Virgin Media’s WiFi portal. Virgin Media also offers a Pay As You Go service with daily, weekly and monthly passes5, giving Tube passengers a range of options about how to get online underground.