Virgin Media could offer wholesale access to Tube Wi-Fi network
Virgin Media is planning to allow rival communications firms to use its London Underground wireless internet network on a wholesale basis after the Olympics.
The company is calling for bids on a potential wholesale arrangement to be lodged by September and has got in touch with mobile operators O2 and Vodafone, and internet service providers BT and TalkTalk, reports the Financial Times.
Under the wholesale model, alternative providers will be able to offer Wi-Fi access under their own brand, while Virgin will continue to deliver the service free of charge to its customers and on a pay-as-you-go basis for other Tube passengers.
Additional funding is being sought by Virgin Media to help it maintain the infrastructure and increase capacity in the future.
The cable giant is thought to be hoping that demand for the Wi-Fi service will quickly surpass capacity.
Jessica Ekholm, research director at Gartner, said: "By wholesaling Wi-Fi, [Virgin Media] will open up revenue opportunities and open up the possibility for other providers to get a competitive edge and to take advantage of future network developments in the Underground."
Earlier this month, King's Cross and Warren Street became the first Tube stations to gain access to the wireless internet service.