Finding a high-speed mobile internet connection in the UK just got a little easier. A number of iconic black cabs in London have been fitted with 4G wi-fi hot spots for free, high-speed interent access.
4G-enabled London Taxis. Photo: AFP
Everything Everywhere (EE), the only British network provider to currently offer its subscribers a 4G connection, is enabling 40 London taxis plus a further 10 in Birmingham with a 4G hotspot so that riders can test-drive the technology themselves, free of charge, as part of their taxi ride.
Of the publicity stunt, which begins this week and which is scheduled to run for the next three months, Spencer McHugh, EE's director of brand, said: "We hope this trial will demonstrate the benefits of a superior online experience as users can browse, download, catch up on emails, tweet and check Facebook at the speed of light.
We can't make taxi journeys any faster but we can certainly speed up people's smartphones."
The taxis involved in the trial will be easy to spot as they have been painted aqua and covered in the company's branding, although, at only 40 in total, the 4G-enabled cabs represent fewer than 0.2% of the total currently on London's roads.
Therefore, UK travelers in search of a fast and free internet connection will be better off heading to a British train station. In a bid to promote the latest version of its Office suite of Applications, Microsoft is currently providing unlimited free wi-fi access at most of the UK's major train stations.
Everything Everywhere's promotion comes hot on the heels of another taxi-based innovation which launched in New Orleans at the end of March, when the New Orleans Carriage Cab became the first taxi company in the US to install backseat soft drink vending machines.
The machines, which dispense sodas for a fee of 99 cents and accept credit card payments, work via a touch-screen interface. Once selection and payment have been made, the can is dispensed from a fridge that resides in the void between the rear passenger seat and the vehicle's trunk.