Costa Coffee has announced a new deal with communications giant O2 to provide free Wi-Fi internet access across its UK estate.
The coffee chain, part of the Whitbread group, will begin offering the service at its London sites this month, with a nationwide roll-out expected to follow later this year.
Costa customers will be given 30 minutes' free Wi-Fi after which time they must sign up once to use the service in Costa outlets and O2's Wi-Fi hotspots. Costa's Coffee Club members will have instant and unlimited free access to the new Wi-Fi service.
Kevin Hydes, marketing director of Costa UK, explained the reason behind the terms: "As people spend around half an hour in our stores, we are delighted to be partnering with O2 and providing our customers with 30 minutes of free Wi-Fi.
"Our Coffee Club members will be rewarded with unlimited access to further enhance their coffee shop experience."
There has been a growing trend towards restricting access to free Wi-Fi within the coffee shop market. Starbucks, which partners with BT OpenZone, allows people to access a two-hour free Wi-Fi session. When that expires, they must log back in, but can have an unlimited number of sessions.
Coffee Republic gives users free use of its Wi-Fi service, provided by CommsPort, for the first 10 minutes, with further payment required to continue using wireless internet in stores.
Pret A Manger, EAT and Caffè Nero offer free Wi-Fi in stores through a deal with BSkyB using The Cloud.
By Janie Manzoori-Stamford
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