Optus, Westfield partner for free Wi-Fi in shopping centres

Public wireless coming to 21 new Westfield malls this year

Optus will deploy free public Wi-Fi services in Westfield shopping centres across Australia under a partnership with Scentre Group.

The Optus and Scentre Group partnership has an initial term of five years. Under the first stage of the national rollout, which begins this month and is expected to be completed by year end, Optus will deploy Wi-Fi systems to 21 Westfield malls and upgrade existing systems at three more shopping centres.

Optus and Scentre Group plan to deploy Wi-Fi at more Australian shopping centres in 2016, they said.

The Wi-Fi service will provide 1GB of data free over a 3-hour period each day to Westfield shoppers, with the network accessible across the entire common mall area. The service will also provide location analytics and will enable Westfield to deliver personalised content to shoppers.

The deployment follows two successful pilots in October 2014 at shopping centres in Miranda, NSW, and Garden City, QLD.

During the trial, the free Wi-Fi attracted an average of 3000 sessions per day at each mall, said Optus. In addition, those who logged onto the Wi-Fi on average stayed about 12 per cent longer than those who did not, it said.

Optus Business has partnered with Aruba and SkyFii to deploy and manage the public Wi-Fi networks in the shopping centres.

“We are focused on creating the best customer experiences within our shopping centres with digital connectivity a key priority,” said Peter Allen, CEO of Scentre Group, which operates Westfield in shopping centres in Australia and New Zealand.

“This new service is another example of where we are investing to improve the customer experience through innovation.”

The partnership acknowledges increasing demand for data on the go, said Allen.

“With over 500 million visits to Westfield shopping centres in 2014, we believe that this service will meet the growing shopper demands for data as they increasingly use their smartphones to inform their shopping trip and connect socially.”

Optus said it will this year roll out Wi-Fi at the following Westfield shopping centres:

  1. Westfield Belconnen, ACT
  2. Westfield Bondi Junction, NSW
  3. Westfield Burwood, NSW
  4. Westfield Carousel, WA
  5. Westfield Chatswood, NSW
  6. Westfield Chermside, QLD
  7. Westfield Garden City, QLD – completed
  8. Westfield Hornsby, NSW
  9. Westfield Innaloo, WA
  10. Westfield Kotara, NSW
  11. Westfield Tuggerah, NSW
  12. Westfield Liverpool, NSW
  13. Westfield Southland, VIC
  14. Westfield Tea Tree Plaza, SA
  15. Westfield Warringah, NSW
  16. Westfield Miranda, NSW – completed
  17. Westfield Parramatta, NSW
  18. Westfield Whitford City, WA
  19. Westfield Geelong, VIC
  20. Westfield Helensvale, QLD
  21. Westfield Sydney – Myer side, NSW
Read more: Social media delivering for Australian organisations, analysts find

Optus said it will upgrade existing Wi-Fi systems at these shopping centres:

  1. Westfield Sydney, NSW
  2. Westfield Fountain Gate, VIC
  3. Westfield Carindale, QLD

Adam Bender covers telco and enterprise tech issues for Computerworld and is the author of dystopian sci-fi novels We, The Watched and Divided We Fall. Follow him on Twitter: @WatchAdam

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