Spectrum Interactive swaps free Wi-Fi for coupon downloads

In a twist on advertising-supported Wi-Fi access, Spectrum Interactive will open its Free Street Wi-Fi network in London to users who select a promotional offer from one of its local brand and advertising partners.

Spectrum has retrofitted 1,800 of the United Kingdom's iconic red payphone booths, turning them into Wi-Fi hotspots. Passersby who provide their mobile number and download an electronic voucher redeemable at a nearby store are promised free Internet access via Spectrum's Wi-Fi network.

The service, which uses location-based advertising technology from Selective Media, is initially available in central London before a broader rollout commences to all of Spectrum's 1,800 street-side payphone kiosks. Spectrum says 1,500 of those are within the M25 motorway zone, which nearly encircles London.

Spectrum initially began testing the program with the help of Nokia (NYSE:NOK) in November 2011, but, according to an article in Engadget, is no longer working with the Finnish vendor. Engadget says Spectrum is still sorting out its marketing strategy for raising ad revenue from the local businesses that are expected to supply coupons for the service.

Spectrum Interactive claims it is the U.K.'s largest, independent provider of Wi-Fi and related services. Its customer base includes large travel, retail and hospitality brands such as British Airways, Travelodge, Accor, Radisson Edwardian and Value Retail.

In related Wi-Fi news, Land Securities disclosed plans to introduce free Wi-Fi service in its 22 shopping centers and two outlet centers in the United Kingdom. The company is collaborating on the project with Wi-Fi provider The Cloud, which counts the contract as the largest it has secured with a commercial property company.

For more:
- see this Engadget article
- see this Cellular-News article and this article
- see this ISPreview article

Related articles:
AT&T ad-backed Wi-Fi to take wing at Dallas airport
Virgin Media to provide free Wi-Fi on London Tube
San Jose muni Wi-Fi to offer faster speeds, advanced service
Ireland's Eircom Group deploys Wi-Fi offload for all data plans
O2 UK preps London for Europe's largest free Wi-Fi network
Towerstream's Wi-Fi hotzones see plenty of traffic but no wireless carrier customers - yet