back to article O2 quietly cans gratis Cloud Wi-Fi connectivity

O2 has quietly dropped The Cloud from the list of Wi-Fi hotspot aggregators it grants its mobile customers free access to. Until the start of the month, O2 customers could access the internet through The Cloud's many WLANs. Now, however, only BT Openzone and O2's own O2 WiFi hotspots are included for free. Punters tell us …


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  1. Barry Tabrah

    Definitely got a text

    I got a text last week from O2 informing me of this. Not sure what the percentage of customers that didn't are, but some people definitely did get prior notification. In fact, I seem to recall getting a notification before Christmas from O2 about this happening as well.

    1. David Perry 2
      Thumb Up

      I concurr

      I had definitely one, maybe two, texts telling me about this change. Personally until I have a VPN setup I won't trust open access wifi anyway.

    2. AdamW

      I didnt get a text, i am most annoyed as I used this for netflix at the train station

    3. Anonymous Coward

      Yep, I definitely got both text messages about this too.. It's a shame really, as The Cloud hotspots are much faster than the BT ones. :(

    4. James Delaney

      Me too

      I remember getting a text a while back and thinking whatever - I'm sure all those moaning probably, at the time, ignored it too.

    5. Mark Thomas 3
      Thumb Up


      Got 3 texts and an email.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Me too.

      I distinctly remember getting a text from O2 about this. I remember thinking "Meh, I don't go anywhere that has 'The Cloud' wireless anyway..." Perhaps those complaining sent 'STOP' to 81145 per the bottom of O2UK messages previous to this announcement?

    7. Velv

      Depends if the contract you signed permits O2 to change the T&Cs through notification by text. I'm not with O2 now, but the old contract named access to The Cloud and did not include variation by text.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    BT Openzone hotspots

    BT Openzone may have a lot of hotspots but only some of them allow free O2 customer access. Just seeing a BT Openzone hotspot on your wifi list doesn't gurantee you can connect to it. Nien times out of ten you connect but can't surf.

    In my experience The Cloud was a much more reliable and easier to use service and I shall miss it. I may even pay for it in future.

    The O2 hotposts are ok but I find you have to be standing within about 50ft of an O2 shop to connect to one. Not as convenient as sitting in your local pub, Costa or McDonalds to do your surfing.

    Apart from for their iPhone customers, O2 has never really publicised the free wifi very much. I only found out about it by accident so I'm not surprised they are now gradually removing it just as quietly.

    1. Graham 25

      BT 'ClosedZone' more like

      Spot on - with so many businesses using O2 broadband but not allowing people to use the Openzone 'free' function (as is their right) its a royal PITA when your phone is always having to connect to what it thunks is an available Openzone connction when 9/10 times in London its not open..

      I would rather O2 took away Openzone and lef the Cloud alone.

      Openzone should have used different network names for the public PAYG variety and the O2 'its in the bundle' sort. But that would be too simple I guess.

    2. Natasha Live

      McDonalds are moving their Wifi from "The Cloud" to O2

  3. jai

    They told me about it...

    I definitely got a text from them to let me know this was going to happen. I think it was a couple of weeks ago.

    Found it - actually it was sent to me on 8th December:


    O2: Just to let you know, from 1 February 2012 The Cloud wifi won't be part of your unlimited wifi anymore. You can still use BT Openzone as usual. And now, O2 Wifi. Go to to find out more. To stop SMS, text STOP t 81145


    So perhaps it's not that they didn't tell anyone, it's just that no one remembers or paid any attention when they did?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Cloud is free anyway?

    I'm not with O2 but I've certainly used The Cloud at several locations for free (you have to do a simple sign up of course) - can't see why this affects O2 users??

    1. Paul Shirley

      The Cloud is a paid service in many venues and only free if the site owner chooses to sponsor it.

      The O2 deal covered all hotspots (AFAIK) and may have been easier than the hoops I've had to jump through to get online in recent years. Feels like different hoops every few months... and by the time I've remembered which magic incantation is current, my pint is nearly done!

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This O2 punter, at least, received a text before Christmas telling me about the change and how/where to sign up for the O2 WiFi hotspots.

  6. Son of Steve

    On contract? FON?

    My bolt-on is described as, "Unlimited Wifi for iPhone SIMO" - anyone know if O2 are allowed unilaterally to change this?

    Always very irritating that BT adds in all the FON network hotspots: it happens frequently that you can be walking along when the iPhone connects to a BT network, which I want it to do in places like Heathrow, but for it to be on FON so blocked. It's a tiny reflection of the thought process of BT, and why I have no intention of being their customer.

  7. Mark Thomas 3

    They did...

    I got at least three text messages advising of this, so they were not quiet on the subject.

  8. wabbit02

    16 Dec

    O2 sent me a Text on 16 of December; "From 1 February 2012 The Cloud Wifi won't be par of your unlimited wifi anymore"

    I also remember pop-ups when logging in to my online bill.

    Hardly surprising since the cloud were bough out by Sky last year..

  9. Matt 20

    Yeah, I got a txt

    It was news to me that I could ever use The Cloud though in the first place... Easy come, easy go!

  10. Jon 9

    2.8M sites? Male cow excrement

    They get that figure by counting the BTFon sites that are turned on by default on all BT broadband routers.

    They don't guarantee access even if you're a paying customer to BTOpenzone. You've never been able to get access if you're on a 3rd party (eg O2)!

    I cancelled my account with them when I found this out.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Punters didn't read the notification..."

    Is actually what you mean. I was with O2 at the time and the told me about it several weeks ago.

  12. garthwd

    As above

    I was sent a text in December and a text in January letting me know. I believe Sky have bought The Cloud so I would expect Sky customers to get access through it.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Time To Change Network

    Dismal coverage, stingy data allowance - the only reason I stayed with O2 was The Cloud hotspots which seem to be everywhere (unlike BT Openzone). Not much reason now.

    1. David Paul Morgan
      Thumb Up

      sign up...

      ... for the Cloud. Use your junk email to sign in. I don't think it costs at the moment.

  14. Fuzz

    I have an idea

    You know those radio signals that our phones are using to transmit our speech and text messages. What if the mobile providers allowed us to use those to send and receive data? Then we could use the net anywhere we had a mobile signal. Just an idea.

    I'm a Giffgaff customer because it's cheap, but because I'm a giffgaff customer I have to endure O2's shocking data network. It's fine for checking the odd web page and my email works OK but there are loads of things that just don't work. I can't download anything, apps, music, all fail yet work fine over wifi.

    1. Velv

      You're a Consultant aren't you? You've heard that mobiles and wifi both go over the air and therefore you expect the to be equal.

      Wifi is short range, 3G has to travel several km. wifi is usually shared by only a few devices, where 3G handles several hundred devices simultaneously. In other words, They are DIFFERENT TECHNOLOGIES. In time the service will converge, but for now we are stuck with the limitations imposed by each standard.

    2. chr0m4t1c

      A more plausible explanation for your poor data rates may be that Giffgaff are offering unlimited data for £10/month and the only way that O2 could sustain that business model will be to throttle the traffic.

  15. Leona A

    bolt on, rip off.

    Meh! typical, I did read something about this, maybe an email or text, and I remember thinking what am I paying the extra £6 for then? Not happy bunny, if I could get away with limiting my downloads to 100Mb a month I'd go for the basic option.

    I have NEVER been able to connect to BT OpenZone wifi points, ever.

    wish O2 would bump their Basic Internet bolt on data allowance up to 250Mb then I could save some money, hum

  16. Huntsman

    O2 hotspots

    They aren't that widespread around my NE28 postcode:

    1.5 miles O2 RETAIL 11a The Forum Shopping Centre, Wallsend

    5.5 miles O2 RETAIL 31-33 King Street, South Shields

    6.6 miles O2 RETAIL 123 Northumberland Street, Newcastle-upon-Tyne

    6.6 miles Greggs 105 Northumberland Street, Newcastle Upon Tyne

    6.7 miles O2 RETAIL 31 Blackett Street, Newcastle-upon-Tyne

    6.8 miles O2 RETAIL Unit 22 Blackettbridge, Eldon Square, Newcastle-upon-Tyne

    Thank God for Greggs.

  17. Giles Jones Gold badge

    They need the Wifi as their 3G coverage is so pitiful. Perhaps if they spent the money on their network instead?

  18. FanMan

    Sure I knew

    They texted me. The only place I want to go that has the Cloud is McDo at breakfast time and I presume that will continue free. Plus a sign saying "Cloud WiFi" really means "This is a boring third rate outlet. Avoid!".

  19. David Paul Morgan

    o2 never worked properly

    Neither of my accounts has connected to their WI fi spots. Always have to use the Cloud.

  20. MooseMonkey
    IT Angle

    El Reg....

    Did you even check your story on this? I had two texts about the cloud too, and it appears most of your commenters did. This isn't meant to be news of the world, check your facts just a little.

    Maybe the next story will be "El Reg quietly removes readers comments". Not that you can prove its me, as you gave my fucking log in details away last year.

    I wonder if the fact I'm typing this and the whole page is sponsored by Orange is a coincidence?


    1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: El Reg....

      Thanks for the comments, but while it's true that some got a text, others simply did not.


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