Orange has signed a deal with the Wi-Fi hotspot aggregator The Cloud to give the operator's business customers wireless access across the UK.
The Cloud has about 7,500 hotspots around the country, so the deal brings the number of hotspots available to Orange users to about 10,000. The operator already has similar deals with BT Openzone, France Telecom (Orange's owner) and WeRoam.
Anthony Keyworth, Orange Business Services' director of products, said on Tuesday that the deal would help provide "easy-to-use, secure communication" to the operator's business customers. "They are less worried about who owns the infrastructure and naturally more interested in a service that works effectively," he said. "Partnering with The Cloud enables us to extend our high-quality service to thousands more locations in an instant."
"We're delighted that Orange will now be able to offer Wi-Fi connectivity through The Cloud's unparalleled UK footprint, which includes train stations, hotels, airports and major sporting venues," said Owen Geddes, The Cloud's director of business development.
The deal will affect those who use Orange's Business Everywhere mobile data cards, which offer connectivity through a variety of technologies including Wi-Fi, HSDPA, 3G, EDGE and GPRS. Those who are on a Business Everywhere tariff will get 250 free Wi-Fi minutes bundled into their existing monthly deal, while every minute beyond that bundle will incur a cost of 8p.
The Cloud also has a Wi-Fi deal with one of Orange's rivals, O2, although that deal only covers use with the iPhone.