In the U.K., iPod touch’s Wi-Fi Forecast is No Cloud… | iLounge Backstage


In the U.K., iPod touch’s Wi-Fi Forecast is No Cloud…

Since I wrote about my change of heart and subsequent purchase of an iPod touch, I have signed up to the Wi-Fi hotspot service provided in the U.K. by The Cloud.

At £3.99 a month, with no contract to tie me in, I thought I would road test the service. Cambridge currently has 38 Cloud hotspots listed for the city centre, so the prospect of being able to connect looked favorable. 

Using the service is supposed to be as simple as possible. By registering the MAC address of your iPod touch when signing up for the “Cloud Unlimited (Music)” package, you should be able to connect to the service when in range of a hotspot with no further need to sign in—“no tricky usernames or passwords to remember,” states The Cloud. The only ‘work’ I had to do to be able to surf the net was to check the list of available Wi-Fi networks detected by the touch.

I have managed to use the touch at U.K. airports where The Cloud provides hotspots, and I discovered a hotspot in the Cambridge-area mall near the O2 store—the same mall where the new Apple store is going to be located. There is a hotspot in the pub next door to Borders which is actually accessible from inside Borders, handy for checking on who-wrote-what. All fine and dandy.


That is, until last week. Trying to access the ‘net from inside Borders brought up a log in screen. Unusual I thought; maybe the pub had changed its Wi-Fi settings. I went through the login process to be told my username or password was incorrect. Several attempts to log in failed. I was able to submit a report via the login page and I decided to try one of the other hotspots I knew worked previously.

Same error, again.

After getting an email response from the support department, I was assured that they are working on resolving the problem, and that I would be able to use the service. Three days passed. So, I sent more emails to report the problems. And received more emails claiming the problem was resolved.

Any prospect of my remaining on this service has been ‘clouded’ by the recent connection problems: my iPod touch has just become an iPod again. For the occasional times I have used it, before these recent issues, Wi-Fi has been worth the 13p or so a day it cost. Perhaps this is just some rough weather that The Cloud is going through. I’ll see if I am offered some form of compensation for these days of lost usage.

Has any other U.K. reader has been having these issues? I’d like to hear from you in the comments. And before anyone suggests it, I’m still not going buying an iPhone.

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Actually I have yet again at the weekend joined a cloud network on my iphone and had to re-register again by putting my mobile number in.

The cloud says i only need to do this once ever but this is the 3rd time now.

Got access after tho so whilst inconvenient its better than nothing.

Posted by Matt on March 17, 2008 at 12:37 PM (CDT)


I have an iPhone - but I get a similar problem with cloud.  It states that you only have to enter your details once - well, I enter them everytime I want to use the cloud network.  It’s a pain.

Posted by Curtis on March 17, 2008 at 2:07 PM (CDT)


I run my iPhone on vodafone so no free cloud for me but I did pay for it as I thought it would be useful. Having done so I experienced multiple issues as listed above and it drove me nuts. Trying to contact their support drove me more nuts and I gave up and cancelled. I actually know someone who works there and he did offer me a 6 month freebie but the very next time I tried to connect it asked me for my password yet again so I haven’t tried again.

Its a great concept and they have some interesting things in the pipeline but it doesn’t “just work” at the moment.

Posted by Bobajobbob on March 17, 2008 at 7:32 PM (CDT)


Endless problems, hopeless support. Try sending an email…. and wait .... and wait… and…eventually(3 months) they send me ‘we’re glad your problem has been solved…’!!!

Posted by giorgio on March 18, 2008 at 7:30 AM (CDT)


I bought one of their 24 hour packages, and got no use out of it - next time I tried to connect to use the rest of it up they had changed the rules and it had apparently all expired although I was not logged in! “Problem solved” their helpdesk said.

The Kings Cross node is a good strong wireless signal, but no internet, email or iTunes access for months.

Posted by John V. Keogh on March 18, 2008 at 8:14 AM (CDT)


Well, here I am standing next to the Graphic Novels section in Borders - no need to login to access the ‘net.
I hope that the problems with the login have been sorted.

Time will tell…

Posted by Bob Levens in UK on March 18, 2008 at 8:15 AM (CDT)


Apart from that, their Aldgate, London coverage where I work is intermittent, but when it works it’s great for a few minutes.

Posted by John V. Keogh on March 18, 2008 at 8:16 AM (CDT)


All I ever get is “Safari cannot find the server” message. It worked once in Bury St Edmunds near the O2 shop. Useless.

Posted by drevo_uk in UK on March 24, 2008 at 2:59 PM (CDT)


Although it seems I have to log in every time I use a cloud network, from there on it works perfectly.

Posted by James Thomas on April 13, 2008 at 11:13 AM (CDT)


Last couple of times I have accessed The Cloud it seems to be back to the original system of connecting with no need to log in.

Thanks for the comments though - at least I know I am not alone.

Posted by Bob Levens in UK on April 13, 2008 at 11:45 AM (CDT)


I’ve had endless trouble with this. My iPod Touch connects to ‘The Cloud’ perfectly all over the place. But I never see the login page when I open Safari. I get the ‘Safari cannot find the server’ message referred to above. So no opportunity to log in, in other words. Has anyone else experienced this/got any ideas as to how to solve it? Haven’t found The Cloud’s support very useful so far and am thinking about cancelling my subscription, but it’s a shame because if it would work, it would be really useful when away from home.

Posted by Jon Payne on October 17, 2008 at 9:27 AM (CDT)


All I can say is keep sending emails to them - also check to make sure that your local Cloud hotspot is still active. The one I had been using recently cancelled their service - only found out after sending The Cloud tech support reports about it.

Posted by Bob Levens in UK on October 17, 2008 at 12:09 PM (CDT)


can anyone help me out here i bought a ipod touch amongst other things thought it would be good to surf the net and check my emails when i was out i often use wetherspoons and i have their user name and password but whenever i try to connect to my cloud i cant see a user name an dpasword option so cannot connect do i have to a register and two is this really a free service

Posted by jack on February 17, 2009 at 8:15 AM (CST)


If you are attempting to access The Cloud service on your iPod touch you have to register the MAC address of your touch and sign up to their Unlimited Music tariff -

If you can find a free wifi hotspot then it’s just a case of opening Safari - some places may require you to log in or get a free ‘pass’ from a staff member, which you then use to log in to that hotspot service.

Posted by Bob Levens in UK on February 17, 2009 at 10:41 AM (CST)


First, the iphone was pretty good, and with 3G, much less downside.  The Cloud works well especially with its integration to O2.  However, I tried to get some kind of decent yet cost effective use of the Cloud for my MacBook Air.  Or when WiFi is near but O2 and Cloud are not.

The experience lasted for 2 months until I deleted the service and opted for BT OpenZone, a similar price but locked in for 18 months.  At least BTOpenzone works, and for a bit over 10 quid a month, I have unlimited BTOpenzone plus 500 minutes to roam T-Mobile (Starbucks and Airports).  Also, you log in with whatever device you are using.  (iPhone, MacBook, etc.) Only one log-in at a time per the account, but the locking of a single MAC address as done by the Cloud is too restrictive for me, especially if running Windos inside the Mac OSX.

It can be noted that The Cloud only seems to work fantastic at McDonald’s which offers their access free anyways.

At first The Cloud Unlimited service seemed to work, but then it stopped, probably due to the Router in one Pub or the next Pub (Fuller’s should all work but don’t) When I raised a query to the Cloud, it was electronic only, with very slow response, and more than once it winded up with “your query is resolved”, when, in fact, it was not”)

It seems that the weakness may be related to the pubs that hold their WiFi routers.  Even if the WiFi is provided, it is not much help to aks that lady who is serving your beers about their WiFi, as they just don’t know.

At least, TheCloud gives you the opportunity to opt-out, whcih you may need to do.

Posted by Harlan Webber on April 15, 2009 at 6:44 AM (CDT)


In JD Wetherspoons my MacBook or my Wifes Asus EEE netbook always connects first time to the Clouds home page where I enter the Username: Sponsored and the password Service.
My new iPhone 3Gs, only access the web intermittently at Wetherspoons. Here are the 3 possibilities:
1   instant connection with great speed.
2 I go to my Wetherspoons Cloud Bookmark Favourites and enter “Sponserd Service” and get the web connection
3 Permanent spinning clock pattern with the word “connecting”

Option 3 happens the majority of the time and the Safari browser is locked up in this “attempting to connect” mode.
I’ve tried power cycling my iPhone and getting the pub staff to powercycle the WiFI games machine that provides the service, but option 3 is a bit of a brickwall.
The local O2 shop has no suggestions
The iPhone was bought so that I wouldn’t need a laptop when having lunch at Wetherspoons.

The frustration of the iPhone failing to connect in Wetherspoons; when a laptop connects no problem; is huge!
All suggestions / any suggestions appreciated.
(Yes Pret a Mange works fine and the coffees great)

Posted by David Blaikie on September 23, 2009 at 8:23 AM (CDT)


me and my father have an ipod touch.cant join cloud anymore.have once,now says email account doesnt exist although the cloud have emailed both of us congratulating us on joining the network.we give up.its fine on my laptop,but pain on the ipod.

Posted by steve on February 3, 2010 at 9:41 AM (CST)

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