Four Tesco shops in the UK are currently offering Wi-Fi hotspots, which customers can connect to for free to compare prices and read product reviews.
Mike McNamara, Tesco’s chief information officer, said that customers are already using mobiles to make sure that the supermarket’s prices are competitive. “You can stand Canute-like and pretend nothing is happening, or you can say it’s happening, and I am going to help it happen,” he said.
If the trial is a success (and people aren’t just sitting in the chocolate aisle, streaming 1080p YouTube videos to their iPad), the service could be rolled out to every shop in the country relatively quickly. Tesco already uses Wi-Fi in most shops for staff-only operations.
It would be the first UK supermarket to feature free Wi-Fi. Currently, complementary wireless web access is exclusive to the likes of coffee shops and fast food outlets, including Starbucks and McDonalds. The London Underground will get Wi-Fi at 120 tube stops by 2012.