Nokia has joined forces with Spectrum Interactive to bring free Wi-Fi to London.
Under the trial, which begins today (November 1) and will run until the end of the year, 26 streets across the city, including Oxford Street, Tottenham Court Road and Sloane Square, will offer Wi-Fi connections of 'up to' 20Mbps thanks to equipment installed in street-side phone boxes owned by Spectrum Interactive. Users can simply locate the Wi-Fi network on their device and then accept the terms and conditions before they begin browsing, there is no need to register to use the service.
The pair claim the initiative is "the first ever public Wi-Fi scheme in the UK that's specifically aiming to make it easier for people on the move to access online services for free".
If the trial, which intends to assess both the demand for free Wi-Fi access and the browsing behaviour of consumers using the service, proves successful, it is expected the network will be rolled-out across London in early 2012.
"Nokia believes you can upgrade every day moments to make them amazing. Providing free Wi-Fi access to London commuters and visitors does just that. On-the-go internet access has become an indispensable part of modern life," said John Nichols, head of marketing at Nokia.
"From tourists finding their way around the capital, to commuters updating Facebook or browsing on the move, we all depend on mobile to share our everyday experiences and enhance our lives. Nokia is pleased to sponsor this pilot which we hope will connect people even more easily than ever before."
Simon Alberga, executive chairman at Spectrum Interactive, added that while 4G mobile access is firmly on the horizon, Wi-Fi coverage currently fills a much needed niche between 3G mobile internet and home broadband.
"Tablets and mobile phones are capable of incredibly high-end browsing experiences now, but Wi-Fi access is often a requirement to support the tasks many of us want to be able to do on the move, such as uploading multimedia to Facebook or watching YouTube. It's great to be able to implement a service that so many people will quickly come to regard as indispensable."