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The Cloud and Tesco team up on consumer wifi

As predicted by Telecoms.com in May, the UK’s leading supermarket chain, Tesco, is to offer wireless internet access airtime for an unlimited use flat rate of £11.99 a month, in partnership with The Cloud.

Tesco serves 5 million visitors a month in the UK and will be pushing the offer through its Tesco Telecoms arm which runs Tesco.net.

In a statement, the companies said: “Any mobile internet user from a small business manager to writers and students will be able to access the internet on the move from the 7,000 UK hotspots, including city centre hotzones across the country, without having to worry about time limits or escalating costs.”

The package is also available for £4.50 for an hour’s pay-as-you go use and £11.99 a week on a pay-as-you-go basis. www.tesco.net customers will also benefit from an exclusive 10% off discount when they sign up to a year contract.

George Polk, CEO, The Cloud said: “The Cloud is committed to working with the best partners in order to make great value WiFi available to as many people as possible. We are introducing this service in response to the growing demand for always on internet connectivity at a low daily price.”

The service is being launched at the same time as The Cloud is switching on a number of city centre hotzones across the UK, starting with Manchester which went live earlier this month.

Manchester will be followed by networks in City centres in Birmingham, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Leeds, Liverpool, Nottingham and Oxford, along with the London boroughs of Kensington and Chelsea, Camden and Islington. The Cloud is also currently building Europe’s largest wifi enterprise zone for the City of London.

Julien Grivolas, analyst at Ovum, believes The Cloud’s move could trigger “a price war” for wifi. He explained: “The Cloud has a very significant customer base in the UK, and consumers will be very happy that they will be paying more than 50 per cent less than BT’s offering.”

Grivolas, who is based in France, believes The Cloud’s partnership with Tesco is ideal for now but in the future partnering with “more closely linked telecoms companies” is more likely, particularly in other European states. “This kind of strategy will work for The Cloud and Tesco in the UK but if you look at say Sweden or Germany where they have far fewer hotspots, it would not be successful. But in the UK where they are so dominant, I think this will do very well.”

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