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T-Mobile ties Wi-Fi access to mobile broadband

The operator is allowing some users of its Web'n'Walk mobile broadband service free access to its extensive network of Wi-Fi hotspots
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Written by David Meyer on

T-Mobile has folded access to its Wi-Fi hotspots into premium versions of its mobile broadband package, Web'n'Walk.

Web'n'Walk, which was one of the first packages to offer UK mobile-phone users flat-rate data access, comes in three flavours, with the top two — Plus and Max — allowing the use of applications like instant messaging and, in the case of Max, VoIP.

Those two tiers, which are priced from £12.50 per month on top of the standard Flext contract, will now come with free access to T-Mobile's extensive network of Wi-Fi hotspots in locations such as coffee shops and airports, the operator announced on Wednesday.

T-Mobile's Wi-Fi service can cost as much as £20 a month for those without T-Mobile phones, or £5 for an hour's one-off access. Those with T-Mobile phones can subscribe for £10 a month.

"We've already built a market-leading, high-speed 3G network nationwide; now we're strengthening our lead in mobile broadband by adding our Wi-Fi hotspots to Web'n'Walk Plus [and] Max price plans," said Richard Warmsley, T-Mobile's head of mobile broadband, on Wednesday.

Warmsley claimed that T-Mobile was "the only network to include unlimited use of our own hotspots", and suggested that the operator's mast-sharing deal with rival provider 3 meant that T-Mobile now offered the "best mobile broadband service in the UK".

Usage of T-Mobile's hotspots through Web'n'Walk will fall outside the operator's fair-use policies, a spokesperson told ZDNet.co.uk on Thursday. The spokesperson explained that, although Web'n'Walk fair-use ranges from 3GB to 10GB per month, any time spent on a Wi-Fi hotspot will constitute part of a separate 30GB monthly limit.

The Wi-Fi service can be used through a laptop rather than a phone, if desired, and VoIP can also be used.

T-Mobile does not strictly enforce its mobile-based fair-use limits, nor does it charge for usage over those limits, but repeated overuse will result in a letter recommending a higher-end package, the spokesperson added.

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