The Cloud, a company owned by satellite and telephony provider BSkyB, recently entered into a Wi-Fi roaming agreement with AT&T (News - Alert), allowing the network operator's subscribers to supplement their roaming data in the U.K. with The Cloud's Wi-Fi network. This is accomplished through the AT&T Wi-Fi International App, which enables customers to automatically connect to The Cloud.
This provides AT&T wireless customers, who subscribe to either the 300MB or 800MB AT&T Data Global Add-On package, with an additional 1GB of data usage on The Cloud's Wi-Fi network through one of its 16,000 hotspots, which include pubs and clubs, restaurants, stadiums and venues, retail locations and even transportation systems such as the Glasgow Subway.
This agreement comes about a month after The Cloud's most recent usage figures were released, which highlight the increasing popularity of tablet devices in the U.K. Indeed, the company reported a massive increase of tablet use on its network, with the number of active tablets growing 436 percent in the first two weeks of 2013 as opposed to the same period in 2012. Likewise, the number of online Wi-Fi sessions via tablets grew 642 percent between January 2012 and 2013, while the number of minutes users are spending online with their tablets grew by 731 percent.
Obviously, this suggests that the number of tablet users spending time in hotspot locations is growing, while the length of these Wi-Fi sessions has also grown.
"We’re seeing another major shift in the types of devices using our WiFi (News - Alert) network. Five years ago it was dominated by business people using their laptops, then smartphones took over as they became mainstream devices," said Vince Russell, managing director of The Cloud, in a statement. "While tablets are still only responsible for a small percentage of the overall traffic on our network, they are growing at a huge rate and it’s highly likely that, in another couple of years, tablets will be as common a sight in WiFi hotspots as smartphones."
Overall since the beginning of the year, The Cloud's network has over seven million registered users, which have been connected for over one billion minutes so far in 2013.
Edited by Rachel Ramsey