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VirginWiFi now VodafoneWiFi

Vodafone WiFi

Vodafone WiFi

We noticed the other day on a Vodafone device that at stations that have VirginMedia WiFi, you now also get the choice to connect to Vodafone WiFi.

In fact, we didn’t even have to manually choose to connect to it – our iPhone just connected automatically to the network and WiFi started working just as if we had connected to Virgin Media!

A little technical digging later, and it turns out that Vodafone identify and authenticate you using the IMSI number (your unique SIM card number) and are able to tell if you’re a Vodafone customer who has the right package, and will allow you to connect.

Using the Vodafone connection instead of the Virgin one gives you a level of encryption too (whatever the value of secure WiFi is today!) but better than the “none” on the Virgin Media network (where your connection could easily be eavesdropped by a malicious third party).  It also means you don’t see the “captive” WiFi portal that you see when you first connect to the VirginMedia WiFi, although Vodafone have published some help that states that you might see a captive portal every 45 minutes if you open your browser.

This is a great way of getting more people on-line on the Tube with zero-configuration and we hope to see the other operators adopt the same EAP-SIM and iOS carrier bundle settings system that Vodafone have in the future.