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Royal Caribbean sponsors New York?s next phase of subway Wi-Fi

Royal Caribbean is sponsoring the latest rollout of wireless service to New York subway riders in conjunction with the Metropolitan Transit Authority and a host of Wi-Fi providers including Sprint, Verizon and AT&T.

Phase II of the MTA?s plan to wire all 277 stations by 2017 will bring Wi-Fi service to 11 Manhattan subway stations, including Grand Central and Bryant Park, and 29 stations in Queens as of Oct. 16. The goal is to modernize the subway system in order to better cater to millennials, the largest riding sector, and make the system more connected and secure.

?We know from the success of phase one that commuters really demand this service in the stations,? said Jim Hormann, assistant vice president for AT&T?s New York network. ?We are committed to the entire seven-phase project between now and 2017. We want to keep our customers connected and provide them the most reliable Wi-Fi service. It?s also not just about providing wireless service; it?s about enhancing the commuter experience.?

Royal sponsorship
Royal Caribbean is sponsoring the rollout to coincide with the unveiling of its new cruise ship, Quantum of the Seas, which will be launching from New York in 25 days. Quantum of the Seas will be providing what Royal Caribbean claims is game-changing technology: a bandwith that is 500 times greater than any other ship at sea.

Royal Caribbean hopes that guests will enjoy the new wireless capability, which will allow them to stream shows more easily from the ship, Skype with family and friends and browse the Internet at faster speeds.

"It?s a wired world, and New Yorkers expect to stay connected wherever they are, be it below ground or miles out at sea,? said Jeff Dekorte, international vice president of Royal Caribbean, Miami, FL. ?We can appreciate the need for guests to be connected, and we know it?s no small feat to be able to do."

?Quantum of the Seas is bringing boatloads of bandwith and is truly changing connectivity.?

Over 100 miles of fiber cables will be employed across the subway stations and 47 million riders will now be connected monthly, with phase III planning to bring 39 more stations online in spring 2015.

While many subway users will use the complementary Wi-Fi to look for directions, make plans on-the-go or get in touch with family and friends, they will also be able to call 911 or other contacts more easily in case of an emergency.

Wi-Fi as advertising platform
Mobile Wi-Fi broadcast platform CityBuzz will be providing branded content for the subway?s Wi-Fi landing page. Content will include daily New York-based news and information about exciting things happening in the city, along with seamless branded content from advertisers.

The branded content will offer tips on topics such as local New York City restaurants, which new food and beverage products to check out and where to get the best deals.

Citybuzz?s landing page will mark one of the first times that Wi-Fi is using branded content. The company is ensuring that its content will be relevant to subway riders.

?You have to think about the demographics that are taking the subway,? said Christy Ferer, CEO of Citybuzz, New York, NY. ?Think about what concerts are in town, where users? favorite food trucks are, what the hot sample sale of the day is.

?I think that users will be able to engage with whatever we?re talking about. We?re also going to be offering buy buttons in the future and seeing the best partners we can get for that,? she said.

?Wi-Fi in subways is so new that there aren?t track records, so you want to build that up before you go.?

Final Take
Alex Samuely is an editorial assistant on Mobile Marketer, New York