The rapid growth of omni-channel shopping demands the best connections. intu, the leading owner and manager of prime regional shopping centres in the UK, is maintaining its prime position at the forefront of digital connectivity with the roll out of high quality 4G networks in partnership with Wireless Infrastructure Group (WIG) across 10 of its shopping centres.
To support retailers’ emphasis and investment in bricks-and-clicks strategies, intu is working with Wireless Infrastructure Group (WIG) to provide the most digitally connected shopping centres ensuring customers have a seamless online and offline experience.
That means shoppers can browse online and use intu’s apps within the shopping centres to make visits more productive. As a result, customers are visiting more often and staying for longer, benefiting all retailers and restaurateurs at the centres.
intu is employing a distributed antenna system (DAS), owned and managed by WIG, to provide state-of-the-art 4G coverage and capacity. The systems will give customers a consistently high quality signal and superfast mobile internet connection throughout the malls plus food courts as well as, importantly, deep into the anchor stores. The means mobile users will get the best possible call, text and internet experience.
Scott Coates, WIG chief executive, said: “We know shoppers want to stay connected with friends and family, especially when separated within a shopping centre, and to access retailers’ websites. Delivering this level of consistent 4G coverage in a busy shopping centre venue requires investment in dedicated small cell infrastructure. Our partnership with intu has enabled the largest shopping centre roll out of 4G in the UK and comes as part of our commitment to invest £100m in small cell networks over the next three years.”
The 4G experience complements existing free wifi in all intu centres. Customers also benefit from the UK’s largest shopping centre roll out of free-to-use, secure, phone chargers with capacity to handle one million mobile phones per year. The omni-channel shopping offering also includes free click-and-collect for purchases from numerous top retailers through intu.co.uk, which has over 1.8m registered users, free apps at many of the centres and Collect+.
The small cell networks deployed by WIG are capable of supporting the licensed frequencies of all the UK mobile network operators, providing significant improvements to wireless utility in the areas they are deployed. The ten intu shopping centres involved are the super-regional prime centres of intu Trafford Centre, intu Lakeside, intu Metrocentre, intu Braehead and intu Merry Hill, plus prime centres intu Derby, intu Eldon Square, intu Watford, intu Victoria Centre and intu Uxbridge. intu has more super-regional prime shopping centres than anyone else in the UK.
Trevor Pereira, commercial & digital director of intu, said: “With half the UK population visiting an intu branded shopping centre each year, and over a million customers a day, providing continuous and consistent 4G mobile connections is crucial. Wireless Infrastructure Group has a strong track record in this area and the benefits their networks provide will be welcomed by our customers.”