GUEST POST from Ivan Molner

In the summer of 2012, there was much excitement about their introduction of wireless internet onto the London Underground network. Fast-forward to April 2013, and Virgin Media are continuing to expand their offering underneath the streets of London. Users are still enjoying the novelty of being able to access the internet in a location that has traditionally been ‘off limits’ to network signals, and recent announcements from the internet provider have shown their commitment to making the service available to as many passengers as possible.

The total number of covered stations has now reached 120, with Baker Street, Bank and Monument amongst the recently enabled locations. This figure has ensured that Virgin Media and Transport For London have met their coverage target, and this figure is made up of a number of overground and underground stations. This isn’t just good news for those who are waiting for their train in Central London – a number of stations are also coming online in areas that are located towards the suburbs.

While coverage is naturally an important factor, Virgin are also aware of the need for customers to have access to this network – regardless of their mobile operator. While the initial trial was very much aimed at Virgin Mobile customers, their recent press release has given details of working partnerships with O2, Everything Everywhere (Orange/T-Mobile) and Vodafone. This means that the majority of London Underground passengers will now be able to access the Virgin wireless network at no extra charge. They officially estimate that around 89% of their travellers are subscribed to one of these networks, which shows that they are committed to creating a universal product. It may have been tempting to use this service as a tool to attract new customers to Virgin Mobile, but fortunately they have managed to see the bigger picture by getting other mobile networks involved.

This open nature of the network isn’t only for those with a mobile data plan, there is also a Pay As You Go option for more occasional users. At the present time, users can purchase a one-day access pass for £2, while a whole week is currently on offer for £5. For those who wish to use it for a longer period of time, two months of access can be purchased for £15 as a special offer rate. With the potential for more stations coming online in the future, these passes have been sensibly priced.

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