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Retail Technology, Retail technology News

McDonald’s drops The Cloud for O2 Wi-Fi

Tuesday April 3 2012

Retail pioneer of free Wi-Fi drops incumbent to sign multi-year mobile operator deal

Retail pioneer of free Wi-Fi drops incumbent to sign multi-year mobile operator deal


O2 has secured a new five-year deal to provide the free Wi-Fi available in McDonald’s UK restaurants, replacing incumbent provider The Cloud.


The partnership will see McDonald’s 1,200-strong restaurant estate switch to O2 Wi-Fi in time for this summer’s 2012 Olympics and Diamond Jubilee festivities.


Updating pioneering customer service


McDonald’s was pioneer of the provision of free customer Wi-Fi access since launching it in its restaurants in 2007. The move was enabled by a strategic reorganisation of the fast food chain’s IT and communications services by Aurora Kendrick James (AKJ) and McDonald’s internal information services department.


In January 2012 the restaurant chain became the first company to gain accreditation from Mumsnet as a ‘Family Friendly Public Wi-Fi provider’.


Mark Fabes, McDonald’s UK IT director, said: “When we launched our Wi-Fi service in 2007 McDonald’s became the UK’s biggest provider of free wireless internet access. Since then usage has soared, with growing numbers of professionals making use of our restaurant Wi-Fi for business meetings and remote working, as well as families and individuals being able to use the network to check emails, shop online or keep up to date with the latest news.


“Recent figures showed that a staggering 750,000 McDonald’s customers are logging on in our restaurants each month and we are always looking for ways to improve our customer experience. For the three million people we serve in our restaurants each day we believe that O2’s mobile expertise and enhanced quality of network connectivity will deliver a fast, safe and secure service for our customers to use when they visit us.”


Exploiting existing marketing services


McDonald’s customers will now be able to access O2 Wi-Fi, which the provider said strengthens an existing partnership with the chain that spans both mobile and marketing services offered through O2’s media business.


O2 added that the McDonald’s deal is the latest in a series of new Wi-Fi partnerships, which include leading operator of restaurants and pubs, Mitchells & Butlers; High Street department store group, House of Fraser; restaurant chain, Tragus; and Westminster Council and the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. It has also already announced an additional 3,000 UK hotspots, which it has added to its network.


The Cloud did not address the reasons why it had lost out to O2 as McDonald’s existing Wi-Fi provider when Retail Technology contacted it for comment. Instead, a spokesperson for The Cloud drew attention to its size and recent wins.


“The Cloud is the biggest and most experienced free Wi-Fi provider in the UK,” stated The Cloud spokesperson. “In recent months we've added major new customers including Greggs, Caffe Nero, Wagamama and First Great Western, extended our contract with the City of London, and entered into a new relationship with TfL [Transport for London] to Wi-Fi enable the London Overground network


“Our network has never been bigger that it is today and we’re growing all the time,” they continued. “We're committed to delivering significant expansion to our UK-wide network for the benefit of both our commercial partners and our customers.”