The expiry of a deal between BT Openzone and O2 at the end of June means the operator will lose a third of its Wi-Fi hotspots
O2 customers will not be able to use BT Openzone Wi-Fi hotspots as of July 1, when a four-year deal between the two companies ends.
The operator has informed customers via email they will no longer have access to 4,200 hotspots shared by BT and O2 – around one third of the total the network has.
The email said O2’s network of more than 8,000 Wi-Fi hotspots will still be available in various shops and restaurant chains.
O2 has an estimated six million Wi-Fi customers.
A statement from O2 said: “From July 1 2013, we will no longer offer access to BT Openzone Wi-Fi hotspots to our customers.
“We’ll continue to extend the reach and scale of O2 Wi-Fi through exciting partnerships with venues including O2 shops, restaurants, retail outlets and outdoor and indoor locations across the UK.”
CCS Insight senior analyst Kester Mann told the BBC the reduction in Wi-Fi hotspots is a “blow” to O2 customers, particularly as the results of the 4G auction mean the company may struggle to meet data demand.
Mann said: “At the recent 4G auction, O2 failed to secure frequencies at 2.6GHz. This may mean that it will struggle to meet the growing data-needs of its customers, particularly in high-density areas. A focus on alternative technologies such as Wi-Fi may have given the operator the opportunity to address this potential shortfall.”