BT OpenZone on iOS: Not fit for purpose

Posted on by Mike Evans

I am not by nature a ranter. But rant I will about BT OpenZone and its incompatibility with the iPad. Some months ago I signed up for a £15-a-month service to give me access to BTOZ’s wireless hotspots. Yet the system is a DisasterZone on all iOS devices. 

First, the user name, which is not alterable, is difficult to remember. It consists of three characters followed by nine numbers.¹ Conseqently, every time I need to log in on my iPad I have to open 1Password so I can cut and paste the name. But pasting into BTOZ’s login page on an iOS screen is nigh on impossible. However much I zoom the box, however often I stab the blank field, I cannot get the iPad to paste. Instead, up comes the “select” mode.

Now I am forced to keep a written note of the username in my wallet and, as a result, I just don’t bother using OpenZone unless absolutely necessary. This fault must be a result of the formatting of the login page rather than any problem with my iPad or iPhone. Clearly no one at BT has thought to try it out.

Secondly, logging out at the end of a session is made impossible. When logging on I am told I must log out after use to ensure there is no overcharging. Yet the page promptly disappears from the Safari list and I am left with no means of logging out.

Why should we need to log in and out every time we want to use OZ? Surely it isn’t too much to expect that we should be able to log in automatically as we do with domestic and many other wifi networks.

Far from being a convenience, BT OpenZone is a frustrating and highly unsatisfactory experience on iOS. It works on OS X, of course (even though you must still try to remember to log out), but my main requirement these days is for on-the-go connection on my iPad. I have lost count of the number of times I have given up on BT and switched back to Vodafone 3G. So fed up am I that I believe the BT service is not fit for purpose and I intend to seek release from the contract. Rant over for the moment.

¹ The problem could be solved easily if BT allowed users to select a meaninful and easily remembered username, such as an email address.

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