3UK Deploys Human Hotspots Across Britain

Mobile operator 3 is sending out people with MiFi hotspots in their pockets, to promote the idea of mobile broadband

Mobile network 3 is deploying ‘human hotspots’ across the UK, in a campaign designed to highlight the need for strong and reliable mobile Internet.

Armed with 3’s MiFi devices – which create a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot using the 3G network – the human hotspots will be appearing in Cardiff, Bristol, Nottingham and Newcastle over the next three weeks. (The human hotspots made their debut in London on 19 November).

Anyone who passes nearby will be able to connect to the Internet for free while they’re out and about. However, only five Wi-Fi enabled devices can connect to a single mobile hotspot at one time.

Demand for mobile Internet

“People are now using mobile Internet as part of their everyday lifestyle, and we think it’s important that we’re able to support our customers by providing them with reliable and fast connectivity for wherever they want to go online,” said Matthew Halfin, marketing manager for Three’s mobile broadband propositions.

“Three’s 3G network was designed for the mobile Internet, so we can give people the very best online experience with their mobile gadgets. This will be particularly important over the Christmas period as a third of people head online with their new mobile toys.”

Research by 3 reveals that demand for Internet access while on the move is increasing rapidly. Nearly a quarter of those surveyed use their mobile gadgets on public transport, 14 percent use them while walking, nine percent while out at a bar or club, and eight percent while shopping.

Inside buildings, Wi-Fi vendors such as Aruba are starting to respond to the issue, along with phone makers such as BlackBerry-maker RIM. However, it is up to the operators to define a strategy to deal with higher densities of smartphones and other mobile devices out on the streets.

The human hotspots are obviously an advertisement for 3’s service, and are coupled with a competition to win a MiFi hotspot, in which mobile site Recombu is giving away a MiFi hotspot to the best Twitter photo taken during the London event on Friday.