O2 has entered into a deal with the virtual network provider Bitbuzz that will allow the mobile operator’s customers to access the internet through independent Wi-Fi hotspots located in several major Dublin pubs.
Under the terms of the deal, O2 will be able to provide Wi-Fi access to customers on a network infrastructure other than its own. Bitbuzz’s network, which has been in trial for the past few months, officially launches today and the service will be initially available in the Market Bar, the Globe, the Harbour Master, the Henry Grattan and the Schoolhouse.
Earlier this year siliconrepublic.com revealed how Bitbuzz plans to roll out 150 Wi-Fi hotspots throughout the country. The company plans to have 20 hotspots live throughout the country by Christmas.
As an open network, Bitbuzz will allow telecom operators to use its infrastructure, instantly expanding their Wi-Fi coverage without having to invest in new equipment such as Wi-Fi base stations.
The head of business solutions at O2, Orlagh Nevin said: “We want our customers to be able to use the service in as many venues as possible and our partnership with Bitbuzz offers us a cost-effective way of providing our customers with a great deal of choice in key locations.”
Bitbuzz is also engaged in discussions with Vodafone regarding the use of Bitbuzz locations and both parties expect to complete discussions in the forthcoming weeks. The chief technology officer at Vodafone, Fergal Kelly, told siliconrepublic.com that despite having 20 base stations active in Ireland, the virtual model such as that offered by Bitbuzz would encourage the operator to enter the Wi-Fi market in Ireland as it reduced the cost of investment.
By John Kennedy
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