AT&T Chicago store (interior 001)

U.S. carrier AT&T today expanded its 4G LTE coverage in several markets and now word has reaches us that the company has signed an interesting roaming deal with The Cloud to offer travelers free access to 16,000 Wi-Fi spots in the United Kingdom. The Cloud is a BSkyB-owned Wi-Fi hotspot provider and the agreement entails up to one gigabyte of free roaming data.

RIM has always bested the iPhone and other handset vendors with reasonable service terms that typically include free or inexpensive messaging and data for BlackBerry users traveling abroad. While Apple’s dealings with the world’s carriers don’t included these benefits, it’s nice that one of the most important carriers globally is now appeasing to its customers with a fair roaming deal…

According to The Next Web, AT&T’s US customers connecting to one of 16,000 Wi-Fi hotspot in the UK will need to subscribe to a data add-on. This means the offering isn’t really free per se because a data bundle costs  money even if access to UK’s Wi-Fi hotspots is being provided free of charge.

AT&T Wi-Fi International 2.11.8 for iOS (iPhone screenshot 003)AT&T Wi-Fi International 2.11.8 for iOS (iPhone screenshot 002)
AT&T’s free Wi-Fi International app for the iPhone.

Eligible customers are required to use AT&T’s free Wi-Fi International app available on Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store to connect to The Cloud’s 16,000+ locations across the UK.

The Cloud and BT are the UK’s biggest hotspot providers.

  • Dont get it… If its wifi why do you have to pay?

  • Or just go to a McDonald’s and enjoy free Wi-Fi.

    This being said, if you travel to the UK a lot, it might be a handy feature since McDonald’s and Starbucks free Wi-Fi networks aren’t always nearby.

  • Jonathan

    There many places that have completely free WiFi already. The top three I can think of are McDonalds, Apple Stores and Waterstones. Where you don’t have to register or enter a username and password, and there are others where you need to register but not pay, like KFC and Frankie’s and Bennies. And then many pubs have free WiFi. In fact it would be quite strange to go somewhere to eat and not have access to free WiFi.

    (and BT have quite a large wifi network, almost every house who’s ISP is BT is also a hotspot, but you have to pay (a bit) unless you are a BT customer).

    The only places you really have to expect to pay for WiFi is on public transport, like the trains and tube. And a notable number of coaches give free WiFi.

    So really there is no need to pay your cell network for access to “free” WiFi.

  • I’m British, and have a contract with O2. As o2 used to be a BT company (named BT cellnet in the 90s) they’ve got a deal with BT… the long and short of it is I can access BT hotspots for free (no charges ‘per se’) and I get 10gb of data… without being a BT customer at home. But yeah, cos SkyTV (aka BSkyB) own The Cloud, they charge extra… not good when its the only ‘free’ wifi in the cafe you’re in…