Costa places restriction on free WiFi

Costa Coffee has announced it has signed a deal with O2 to provide free Wi-Fi internet access across its UK sites

The coffee chain, part of the Whitbread Group,will provide the service throughout its London outlets this month. A nationwide roll-out is due later this year.

Customers will be able to use the service for for 30 minutes and, thereafter, must sign up once to use the service in Costa outlets and O2’s WiFi hotspots. Costa’s Coffee Club members will have instant and unlimited free access to the new WiFi service.

Kevin Hydes, marketing director for Costa UK, said: “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 WiFi. Our Coffee Club members will be rewarded with unlimited access to further enhance their coffee shop experience.”

Costa’s choice to restrict customers to free WiFi is in line with the strategy adopted by other coffee shop chains , including Coffee Republic, whose provider CommsPort allows users to use the service for free for the first 10 minutes, with further payment required to continue using wireless internet in stores.

Starbucks UK’s partnership with BT OpenZone enables individuals to access a two-hour free WiFi session, after which, they must log back in, but can have an unlimited number of sessions.

Caffè Nero, Pret A Manger and EAT offer WiFi services free-of-charge in stores through a deal with BSkyB using The Cloud, which has also supplied the service to a dozen London overground stations in time for this summer’s celebrations in the capital.