With the plans already in place for the US launch of the Nintendo DS's wireless Internet capabilities, the company has turned to discussing its strategy for the service's rollout in the UK. Whereas Nintendo will partner with Wayport
in the U.S. (and FatPort in Canada
) the partners of choice in the UK are BT Openzone and The Cloud.
The deal with the two wireless infrastructure developers will allow Nintendo DS players to access the system's Internet play capabilities, first on evidence in Mario Kart DS
, from over 7,500 preexisting wireless hotspots in the UK. Moreover, while traditional usage of the hotspots for wireless computing is on a pay-as-you-go model, all Nintendo DS usage of the access points will be free of charge.
The preexisting access points Nintendo will use are installed in public areas such as McDonalds, Coffee Republic, Hilton and Ramada Jarvis hotels, Road Chef and Welcome Break gas stations, First Great Western rail stations, 25 university student unions, football stadiums, the British Library, and Canary Wharf. Furthermore, Nintendo and BT Openzone will install new access points in game retail shops and "other key outlets across the UK," making the service more ubiquitious.
As in the U.S., Nintendo will make available a Nintendo Wi-Fi USB connector for use in homes with Internet capabilities but no wireless hub. The device will retail for 30 pounds when it's released on November 25th, and will plug into Internet-enabled PCs to form a simple access point that the DS can use wirelessly.
“Nintendo are bringing a significant, groundbreaking deal to the UK," said Nintendo UK General Manager David Yarnton. "Launching our Wi-Fi service in partnership with two of the UK’s leading providers of hotspots is a massive statement of our commitment. Nintendo has revolutionised Wi-Fi video gaming, removing all of the negative aspects whilst retaining the fun and diversity it offers. The Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection service truly offers the mass market a great opportunity to fully embrace Wi-Fi."