Orange has teamed up with wireless access firm The Cloud to provide its customers free Wi-Fi across the UK.

The Cloud has some 7,500 Wi-Fi hotspots around the country. Alongside Orange's own wireless hotspots, provided by firms such as BT Openzone, France Telecom, and WeRoam, the deal with The Cloud means that Orange customers now have access to around 10,000 hotspots in the UK.

Wi-Fi everywhere

"Our business customers want easy-to-use, secure communication. They are less worried about who owns the infrastructure and naturally more interested in a service that works effectively. Partnering with The Cloud enables us to extend our high quality service to thousands more locations in an instant," said Anthony Keyworth, director of products at Orange business services.

"We have numerous Wi-Fi partners complementing a range of other wireless technologies, but no matter which network an Orange customer is using, the user interface and billing remains consistent," Keyworth added.

Bundled Wi-Fi minutes

The deal will bring 250 free Wi-Fi minutes per month to those who use Orange's Business Everywhere mobile data cards. These offer connectivity through a variety of technologies including Wi-Fi, HSDPA, 3G, EDGE and GPRS. The free Wi-Fi minutes will be bundled into their existing monthly deal, with any exceeding minutes being charged at 8p.

Earlier this year. The Cloud switched on Europe's largest Wi-Fi network across the entire of the City of London, giving the 350,000 people who work in and visit the area high speed wireless broadband access across the City. Orange's rival O2 recently teamed up with The Cloud to offer free Wi-Fi for Apple iPhone users.

"We're delighted that Orange will now be able to offer Wi-Fi connectivity through The Cloud's unparalleled UK footprint, which includes train stations, hotels, airports and major sporting venues," said Owen Geddes, The Cloud's director of business development.