Report: Microsoft and/or Google could launch free WiFi in UK


Earlier this year, Microsoft reported the completion of a 10-month white space trial in Cambridge, England.

Microsoft and Google are currently in discussions with the UK government and regulatory officials for the use of the nation's unused wireless spectrum of white space. These discussions have led to speculation that one of the companies could end up creating a free WiFi service in the UK.

According to senior government sources who spoke to The Telegraph, both companies have shown "extreme interest" in the unused spectrum, and the Office of Communications has been lobbying the government to let it determine what companies can use the spectrum; the regulatory company already plans on rolling out the usage of white space on devices early next year. One of the government sources said the companies are looking at the spectrum as a way to differentiate themselves from Apple.

Unnamed industry analysts predict Microsoft would use the spectrum for free WiFi for Nokia's Windows Phone-powered devices, whereas Google would use the spectrum for its Android devices, The Telegraph reports.

Neither Microsoft nor Google have made any public comments about potentially negotiating for the right to use the UK's unused wireless spectrum. Earlier this year, however, Microsoft reported the successful completion of a 10-month white space trial in Cambridge, England, and its surrounding areas. Microsoft was part of a consortium of 17 companies that took part in the trial (Google was not a member of the trial).

Via: Forbes
Source: The Telegraph | Image via Microsoft

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16 Comments

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Yeah, it may be free for them but the end consumer will definitely have to pay. They always make sure we do.
Would love it if this happened, may force mobile carriers to drop data prices.

Figure 8 Dash said,
I would rather have that than Google Fiber. Shame an offer like that would never come to NA.

Yeah same! Google Fiber comes with free spyware and ad based data retention technologies for all customers!

I would be surprised if Google offered Wi-fi ONLY to Android devices. It's not unthinkable, but generally Google is happy to offer its services to everyone.
If Microsoft offered it for Windows Phone devices, it would be a bit of a waste. Better to force them to offer it to everyone than just letting one company use it.

Enron said,
Google will offer its services to everyone if they can get ads delivered to them.

if it is for free then i don't mind about ads.

Would scare carriers with their extortionate data charges too. Short of being out of range of a spot, cellular data usage would drop significantly.

This along with Skype baked in deep and the carriers have some serious reasons to be scared, assuming coverage would be satisfactory...