The Random Thoughts of a Geek heading for Banbury
The Random Thoughts of a Geek heading for Banbury

Dear @O2 I don’t think FREE means what you think it does…


While out shopping for cloths with b0atg1rl yesterday, we happened to go into Debenhams, Whilst in Debenhams I remembered that O2 had recently spammed Twitter with the news that Debenhams, and O2 had partnered to provide “Free” Wireless networks in all UK (plus perhaps more) Debenhams stores, and that the said WiFi was free. imagen my surprise that yet again O2 proves it has a different dictionary to EVERYONE else…

The definition of free I am using is the same as Google:

free  /frē/

  • Adjective:
    Not under the control or in the power of another; able to act or be done as one wishes.
  • Adverb:
    Without cost or payment: “ladies were admitted free”.
  • Verb:
    Make free, in particular.

However, O2 and Debenhams seem to want a payment, that payment is my details. The first screen you are presented when you connect:

Phone Number

So to start with they want my mobile number, and the device I am connecting with, and that I agree to there Terms And Conditions, as it was; I wasn’t in a hurry, and could afford 5 seconds to skim them, including this gem:

Terms and Conditions

Thats right, O2’s definition of free includes the requirement for you to be “Opted in” to spam not just from them but ‘carefully selected third parties’, just what I have always wanted, more spam from O2 (and perhaps Debenhams…) I would let you click through to the Privacy Policy, and the Terms and Conditions, but you would need to be in a Debenhams store to do that; as they are not available outside the wireless network 🙁

Any way after they have your mobile number, and you have agreed to there T&Cs (including there right to spam you) they want even more details off you:

All details

There was no signal in Debenhams, at the time, so I was not able to receive the SMS they send. I am sure the mobile number will give them lots of details about the person trying to use the internet; if they are an O2 customer, then they can link that to an O2 Mobile Phone Account (and see what other devices you use), and if your not an O2 Customer, they can work out who you have as your provider.

If they have multiple Wireless Hotspots, then they can work out how long you spend in what areas of the shop; and spam you with special messages telling you what deals they have.

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