WiFi provision and O2’s data allowance in Europe

In the last few weeks I have had 2 trips to Europe in which I have been able to try out O2’s £1.99 daily data allowance. I found that even with modest use it only lasts a few hours, and then you have to top up again or find a WiFi source! So don’t expect to be able to get through a full day with this allowance. I’m intending to take this up with O2 as I’m by no means a heavy user.

Of course, reliable general WiFi access remains an issue. At the Technical University of Vienna on my last visit it was excellent (via Eduroam), and it was available in the reception area of my hotel. At Vienna Airport there was free WiFi which seemed quite good (good enough to upload a blog post anyway). But the overall provision in Europe still seems patchy compared to recent experiences in the USA and Brazil. A colleague from the USA recently commented, on checking into his hotel in Italy, that it had no WiFi, before mentioning any other aspects of the hotel! And I won’t start on the actual cost of WiFi provision – except to say that I heard a recent estimate of the cost of WiFi provision to a hotel of £2.50 per room per week! So some hotels are making a lot of money on WiFi. I feel (and hope) that this is ultimately unsustainable, and that eventually consumer pressure will prevail, but this might take a while!

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