Wi-Fi software and services firm Boingo Wireless Inc. and Westfield LLC have signed an agreement under which Boingo will manage and sponsor Wi-Fi services at up to 17 Westfield shopping centers. Access to Boingo Wi-Fi will be free to consumers, and the networks also will be accessible to customers of more than a dozen of Boingo’s roaming partners, including Skype and Verizon.

In underscoring the value of the deal, Boingo pointed to a recent study by Chadwick Martin Bailey and iModerate Research Technologies that found more than 50 percent of smartphone users compare prices, locate stores and search for discounts while shopping; rising to 67 percent when users under 35 years old are broken out.

“Increasingly, shoppers appreciate the connectivity and performance that Wi-Fi allows, but merchants and managers also recognize the advantages it brings as an additional consumer outreach channel,” said Joe DeStasio, business development manager for Boingo Wireless. “Westfield understands the value Wi-Fi provides its tenants and will ultimately be able to deliver targeted messaging to customers who are already in buying mode.”

The rollout will begin with seven shopping centers, with the remaining ten being optional depending on the success of the first phase. The first locations are Westfield Garden State Plaza (Paramus, NJ), Westfield San Francisco Centre (San Francisco, Calif.), Westfield Old Orchard (Skokie, Ill.), Westfield Valley Fair (Santa Clara, Calif.), Westfield Montgomery (Bethesda, Md.), Westfield Southcenter (Seattle, Wash.) and Westfield Galleria at Roseville (Roseville, Calif.).

“Boingo’s experience in delivering a quality Wi-Fi experience helps bring a valuable service to our customers,” said Alan Cohen, Westfield’s U.S. executive vice president of marketing. “The ability to leverage Boingo’s location-based platform in the future to deliver targeted consumer offers and messaging also provides us with a growth strategy for the Wi-Fi amenity.”

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