McDonald's launches free Wi-Fi in UK restaurants

LONDON (Reuters) - Fast food chain McDonald’s said on Saturday it would offer free wireless Internet access across its 1,200-strong restaurants in the UK, making it the country’s biggest provider of free wireless broadband access.

The move reflects increasing competition in the UK’s broadband market dominated by contract or pay-as-you-go services, where a regular hotspot user usually has to pay around 5 pounds ($10.18) for an hour log-on.

On Thursday, Britain’s top fixed-line carrier BT Group said it had teamed up with Wi-Fi crusader FON to allow more than three million UK broadband customers to use hundreds of thousands of hotspots for free.

There are around 11,477 Wi-Fi hotspots in the UK and major service providers include The Cloud, BT, and Deutsche Telecom’s T-Mobile.

McDonald’s service will account for about 10 percent of the total Wi-Fi hotspots.