O2 gifts 100,000 Canary Wharf workers free WiFi

The 100,000 workers in London's Canary Wharf are to get free public WiFi, along with the thousands of visitors and shoppers to the business and retail district.

O2 is building the WiFi network on behalf of the Canary Wharf Group, with the network expected to be installed by the end of this summer.

O2 WiFi will be accessible to anyone - no matter what mobile network they are on - in all public area areas including Canary Wharf’s four shopping malls, housing over 240 cafés, bars, restaurants and top retailers, and the 20 acres of outdoor parks and plazas.

Unlike other free public WiFi hotspots and networks, a WiFi user in the Canary Wharf area will only have to register once for the service and will then be logged in automatically on future visits.

O2 said the demographics of Canary Wharf’s visitors "are incredibly valuable to retailers and advertisers" with "48 percent owning shares and 60 percent having a salary over £60,000 per annum".

Some of the costs of the network will be covered by branded landing pages and content, and loyalty offers from retailers. The fact that registered workers and shoppers will be automatically logged into the network means such offers will potentially be more potent.

Gavin Franks, managing director for O2 WiFi, said: “We’re offering a unique platform for brands and advertisers to engage and deepen the relationship with the hundreds of thousands of visitors and workers that pass through each week.”

Sir George Iacobescu, chief executive of Canary Wharf Group, said: "The built environment here is amongst the most technologically advanced in the capital and the installation of WiFi is a natural next step.

“Our shopping malls feature a broad spectrum of luxury brands and high street favourites. This makes them an extremely popular choice for retailers to integrate the latest technological advances for shopping destinations.”

Last year O2 launched a similar free WiFi zone in the London boroughs of Westminster and Kensington & Chelsea in time for the Olympics.

That network covers areas including Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus and Exhibition Road. The rollout was supported by an advertising deal O2 struck with the House of Fraser department store chain, with ads for the brand appearing on the WiFi landing page. The councils did not pay anything towards setting up the network.

Copyright © 2013 IDG Communications, Inc.

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