The Guardian takes a nice look at the hot spot market in the U.K.: Just like in the U.S., operators there are playing with different ways of offering service. One provider, Broadreach, always puts PCs in its hot spot locations so customers can use the network without bringing in their own laptop.
One difference in the way hot spots work in the U.K. compared to the U.S. is T-Mobile's deployment. At Starbucks in the U.K., customers who aren't regular subscribers must buy a voucher from the barista to use the network by the hour or day. The vouchers expire if customers don't use them within a time frame. It seems this process discourages use.
I wonder why T-Mobile doesn't just set it up like in Starbucks in the U.S. where you can buy a day's use online? Maybe in the U.K., it's an issue of people using credit cards and their comfort with making online purchases.