SKY is on the brink of snapping up wi-fi hotspot provider The Cloud in a deal analysts say could be worth around £100m.
Sky is desperate to compete with rival BT, which offers its subscribers free access to its Openzone wireless network covering most of the country.
The Cloud has around 22,000 hotspots across the UK and gives access to its network for £6.95 a month. The Cloud and Sky both declined to comment.
Meanwhile telecoms firm O2 is to launch its own wi-fi platform in the UK. The firm says the ambitious project will offer double the number of hotspots owned by BT and The Cloud combined by 2013.
It says access to the network will be available for free to customers of any mobile or broadband provider.
It says the hotspots will appear in “shops, restaurants, retail outlets and outdoor and indoor locations across the UK”.
O2 also says it will increase its investment in its mobile network by 25 per cent this year. Mobile carriers are desperate to improve their networks to cope with the spike in data usage by smartphones.