Orange is to launch a new Wi-Fi service on Monday, offering a unified cellular data and Wi-Fi service in the UK. The company lacks its own Wi-Fi network in the UK, and is instead utilising hotspots operated by BT Openzone, BT and WeRoam. The network will consist of 1,700 UK hotspots and 12,000 globally.
To use the hotspots, Orange customers will need to send a text message from their mobile phones and receive a username and password to sign into the network using their laptops. The text message automatically triggers the addition of the £6 per hour charge to the customer's bill. Customers can use their 60 minutes of access over multiple connections within a 24-hour period.
Pricing is unlikely to be confirmed until launch, but access to 3G and GPRS networks will be charged based on how much data users download and charges for access to the Wi-Fi network will be based on minutes of use.