London Underground Stations to get WiFi in Time for Olympics

Transport for London (TfL) has announced that WiFi will be available on all London Underground station platforms in time for the Olympics this summer.

The initiative was trialled at Charing Cross station in November 2010 began in November 2010 and the WiFi was made available by BT Openzone. Travel information could be viewed for free, but non-BT customers had to pay to access all other sites. It is not yet confirmed whether or not the proposed new WiFi network will be free of charge, although it is likely that a basic level of service will be provided for free to all users.

Gareth Powell, Transport for London’s Director Of Strategy and Service Development, said of the plans: “London Underground is continuing with preparations to install the necessary infrastructure and is on schedule to complete the project as planned. An announcement of the chosen service provider will be made in early spring leaving plenty of time for this to be delivered to customers in time for the 2012 Games.”

The contract for the WiFi service provider will run for five years but is likely to be extended if the WiFi is a success.

Until now, the absence of internet connection has been a stumbling block for many brands who advertise on the London Underground.  QR codes and posters directing users to websites have obvious problems – Users currently need to save QR codes and remember URLs in order to follow them up at a later time – The introduction of WiFi will now enable users to go directly to websites and purchase items whilst on the station platform.

Will we start to see a rise in the usage and adoption of QR codes, augmented reality and other mobile marketing techniques now that there is a greater opportunity for them to drive sales on the daily commute? Will we start to see virtual supermarkets on the London Underground, as pioneered by Tesco in Korea? Let us know in the comments what changes to mobile marketing you think we will see in London from this new WiFi initiative.


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