Telus gives B.C. bus commuters free wifi

Six-month pilot project tries to bolster brand in home market

Telecommunication giant Telus is hoping to lure new customers on their morning and evening commutes by offering free wifi on select city buses in British Columbia’s Lower Mainland.

Commuters with a wifi-enabled device are first taken to a Telus opt-in splash page from which they can access Telus’ 4G LTE network. The high-speed network allows them to surf social media channels and watch streaming videos while riding the bus – options they might not otherwise choose if they’re trying to conserve data.

Telus says the six-month pilot project, which started Aug. 11 on three longer bus routes in the region, is the first time free Wi-Fi has been offered on public transit in Western Canada.

The buses are also wrapped in Telus advertising, which helps riders know which ones have the free service.

The campaign will help make riding public transit more tolerable, but should also help raise the profile of Vancouver-based Telus in its home market at a time when competition in the telecom industry is intensifying.

“We’ve always looking for ‘surprise and delight’ ways of connecting our customers and things that matter to them,” says Steve Howard, manager of mass advertising and design in the marketing and communication department at Telus. “For us, this was a perfect fit.”

Howard said Cossette Media brought the idea to Telus as part of its role as the company’s media agency of record. Cossette then worked with Taxi (Telus’ outgoing creative agency) to develop the campaign. Lamar Advertising was then brought on board to help with the wrap advertising. The buses are fully wrapped with the Telus logo and free Wi-Fi announcements on the interior and exterior.

When the campaign was launched earlier this month, Telus held a social media contest for users who tweeted a picture of themselves on the bus to @Telus with the hashtag #teluswifibus. Two winners received a free Samsung tablet.

Howard says the free Wi-Fi pilot program will be monitored over the six-month period, during which Telus will decide whether to extend and maybe even expand the offering to other buses in the region.

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