Wi-Fi

McDonald's announce free Wi-Fi


McDonald's have announced the roll-out of free wireless Internet across almost all of its UK restaurants. This move will make McDonald's the biggest provider of free wireless Internet access in the UK, which is largely dominated by pay-as-you-go or contracted services.

The free service will be operated by network provider The Cloud and will be rolled out across the majority of restaurants by the end of this year. Owen Geddes, Director of Business Development at The Cloud said: "It's great to see McDonald's taking such a visionary stance and bringing Wi-Fi to the mass market in this way."

Steve Easterbrook, President and CEO of McDonald's (UK) said: "We hope that this will be a breath of fresh air and give greater choice for Wi-Fi hotspot users who have had little choice but to pay by the month or hour to access the Internet on the move."

Whether a fan of their food or not, this is certainly good news for anybody who wants to use their Wi-Fi enabled devices while on the move. It's rarely a challenge to track down the local McDonald's restaurant; I for one won't mind the cheap coffee if it means I can ‘log-on' for free.

This is the second story I've noticed this week in which customers are being offered free or ‘almost' free Wi-Fi (see BT Broadband's alliance with FON). Will we see this as a rising trend? While some businesses are able to offer such services to customers, how are some of the more traditional hotspot providers going to adapt? The availability of free Wi-Fi makes mobile VoIP calling (such as with Skype) a more realistic option for consumers in urban areas and, as coverage expands, could pose a threat to mobile phone providers through reduced traffic on subscription hotspots and 3G/GPRS.

30 comments
andy.nelson
andy.nelson

All this put me in mind of one of those "urban dictionary" emails I received a while back.... GOING FOR A McSH*T. Entering a fast food restaurant with no intention of buying food, you're just going to the bog. If challenged by a pimply staff member, your declaration to them that you'll buy their food afterwards is known as a McSh*t with Lies.

brian.mills
brian.mills

I love that! That's about the only reason to even enter a McDonalds, isn't it?

DanLM
DanLM

Then Starbucks. Actually, I hate Starbucks coffee and am a huge fan of McDonald's. Chuckle, let the flames begin. Dan

Oktet
Oktet

I personally don't like their fancy drinks and their fancy names; however, they do have one drink that is strictly hard core coffee- The "Americano." The "Americano" is strong with no pretty boy taste, it actually tastes like dirty oil, and that's what I like in my coffee straight-hard core with no fancy stuff added with a buzz that will leave you up for days. Granted- Starbucks is not for the weak at heart or taste. And the "Americano"priced for under $3.00 is not you everyday coffee beverage, but it is the beverage that assists in the completion of big a assignment (the once in a blue moon drink to get the assignment completed).

Justin Fielding
Justin Fielding

Surely the free Internet will sway you towards McDonalds? If you factor in the cost of Internet access as well as the coffee then that Americano starts to look a little pricey :)

LocoLobo
LocoLobo

The coffee at work is so bad I can't drink it so I start every morning with McD's coffee. Starbucks doesnt' tast as good to me.

Justin Fielding
Justin Fielding

I'm with you there actually. Starbucks coffee is a bit too much like processed fast food itself. I prefer Caf? Nero (not sure you would have that in the states).

jdclyde
jdclyde

Nasty crap. I can't understand why anyone would knowingly buy their overpriced swill.

OldER Mycroft
OldER Mycroft

I have EVER been able to stomach!

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

As long as you eat there before 10:30 am. Once they quit selling breakfast, they're closed to me for the day.

Genera-nation
Genera-nation

Must be all the greeners and gobs in it - lol

OldER Mycroft
OldER Mycroft

Otherwise Burger King -there's always one close by- will find wireless laptop owners popping up in their premises also! I don't eat at McDonald's but quite enjoy the Burger King fayre. Maybe 'BurgerDriving' or 'WarBurgers' might be the new crime!

ravin_6764
ravin_6764

This is a good idea but McDonald has to consider their customers who do not use WiFi... McDonald customers whom are not using the Wifi facilities will enjoy the food and leave the permises once they have finished their meal, but considering those using the Wifi they will spend more time and may be spend less(like a fizzy drink) in McDonald and spend more time. It will be problem for McDonald where they have to be politly ask the customer to order more food or drinks while they occupies the place. However McDonald has to consider to make their premisis to have WiFi area , where customers who wants to use the WiFi are to be seated at the WiFi area. By doing this McDonald will have better controll over their crowd.And McDonald can also have special counter made for these customers. Just a suggestion .... regards.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

McDonald's makes more profit from the drinks than the food. Carbonated sugar water is inexpensive to buy and the markup is unbelievable. Nobody will want to sit in a McDonald's and try to work for an extended period of time. It's too noisy, kids running back and forth, the fry machine beeping, etc. This will appeal to McDonald's younger customers, often teenagers, who can hang out, order drinks, and send messages to the kid in the next booth.

ManiacMan
ManiacMan

to access their open AP if he doesn't buy their McCrap food? This already happened to someone in another state that used an open AP from a coffee shop that was supposedly meant for paying customers...see "Are you a Wifi Thief?" thread. I can see the money grubbing trial lawyers salivating over the idea of hauling some poor schmuck into court over this.

w2ktechman
w2ktechman

McDonalds will go that far. McDonalds has been very lean on things in the past because it may make them look bad. They may however, lessen the power to the AP's if it becomes a problem. If you dont like the food, go in and get a drink or something. then you are a paying customer... This would also help those that are wifi challenged in finding a more honest approach to accessing the Internet on the go. McDonalds are easy to find (as the article pointed out). And since it is being offered for free, then there is no excuse to steal someone elses (for those mobile bandits). It may also help lower the cost for wifi in many places. If you can get it for free at 1 place, why go to another and pay! When customers move along, other businesses may just decide to go free as well. Also, it does seem kinda appropriate for it to start from McDonalds. It has been common in coffe houses for a few years, and McD's has been trying to gain attention with their new coffee's recently...

ricky
ricky

can do printing a half hour wifi ticket if you purchase a cup of coffee

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

enjoy the food? My biggest concern would be having to purchase some of it in order to browse.

wesparza
wesparza

This is business 101! Get people in the door! About time McDonal's got around to doing this! There have been plenty of times when I'm driving around looking for somewhere to eat and work (since I do IT) and find myself ending up at places like Panera that offer free wi-fi. Everybody has a laptop these days and everybody does everything online now! To answer the question about technical support. These places that offer free wi-fi will might possibly have a contact number for support on their portal page, but in all reality...if for some reason you can't connect to a FREE service, how upset can you get. And for those of you bringing up the question of people coming in solely for the purpose of using the free wi-fi. Guess what, it's all about getting people in the door. You sit in that McDonald's long enough, you will be tempted to buy some of those delicious french fries. Take a business course people.

brian.mills
brian.mills

That would be my concern as well. I guess you could get your food somewhere else and then sit in the parking lot using the McDonald's wifi while eating another restaurant's food...

JamesRL
JamesRL

I'm sure that McD's will be content if you order a coffee or a soft drink. The sandwiches are the least profitable item, drinks the most. James

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

a flask in, or a few tins on the rare occasion the sun comes out. Please :( Your not kidding about the drinks either, talk about markup, $1.70 for a coffee....

JamesRL
JamesRL

They clean up on soft drinks. I worked in a 7 11 in High school in the 70s and the saying, whether its true or not, was that the cost of the cup was more than that of the soft drink to fill it. Water was practically free back then, so you were paying for syrup. On the other hand, selling pre bottled stuff, the water content weighs a lot and adds to the shipping costs. James

faradhi
faradhi

I used to run a convenience store. It would cost me 5 cents for each 32oz fountain drink I sold for $1.00. That in comparison to the 80 cents for a 20 oz bottled soda that I had to sell for $1.00. This was almost 10 years ago.

Genera-nation
Genera-nation

and what if a customer can't get connected? Are they going to supply support for their free connections? McDowells will need to catch up now!

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