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O2 mobile broadband customers have today been granted access to thousands of BT Wi-Fi hotspots across the UK and will be able to manage their usage more effectively thanks to an upgrade to O2’s software.

Following an agreement with BT OpenZONE, owners of O2 dongles will from hereon in be able to access an additional 3,000 hotspots – including most branches of Starbucks.

The move brings the number of wireless broadband access points on offer to O2 customers to 10,500 and allows them more opportunities to take advantage of the free unlimited wireless access that is included as part of all of the broadband provider’s mobile broadband tariffs.

O2 has also upgraded its Broadband Connection Manager software. This will now automatically copy existing Wi-Fi profiles from a customer’s laptop into Connection Manager during the initial installation process. Consequently, users will be able to connect seamlessly to their home or business broadband wireless network and will not need to enter security codes to do so.

Furthermore, the improved application will be fitted with a data counter to give a more accurate impression of usage. And to ensure that customers do not unwittingly rack up excess charges, O2 will send an automatic notification to users when get beyond 75 per cent of their monthly limit. Further warnings will then be advanced to customers when 90 per cent and 100 per cent of their data allowance has been reached.

Jonathan Earle, head of pay monthly at the broadband supplier, said that the changes would allow customers to get more from their mobile broadband products.

He commented: “We appreciate that our customers want to get the most from their mobile broadband service and we continually look to provide value-added services for them.

“We are introducing two key changes. Firstly, expanding our Unlimited Wi-Fi proposition by introducing BT Openzone Wi-Fi hotspots allowing our customers to stay connected to the people and things that matter to them most. Secondly, we know that customers want to be able to track how much data they have used. Our simple data counter gives the control that our customers want.”

O2’s latest bid to sweeten the appeal of its mobile broadband packages comes after it recently announced that it was halving the cost of its dongle from £29 to £14.67. Set to expire today, the limited period offer is available on weekly or daily pay as you go deal or one-month mobile broadband contract.

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