Ten Intu shopping centres, including the Manchester's Trafford Centre, Lakeside in Essex and Gateshead's Metrocentre, are all now set up with 4G network coverage, as the property firm looks to mobilise its retail hubs across the UK.

A statement from Intu said that the move has been made to support the wider retail industry's growing emphasis and investment in so-called bricks-and-clicks strategies.

Retailers are increasingly reporting that their shoppers are researching, interacting and transacting with them across multiple channels, including using smartphones and tablets within the store environment. Intu sees the implementation of a "strong" mobile network as a way of facilitating these practices, as well as a method for increasing shopping centre dwell time.

In partnership with Wireless Infrastructure Group (WIG), Intu is employing a distributed antenna system which is expected to provide a "consistently high quality signal and superfast mobile internet connection" throughout the malls, food courts and deep anchor stores.

Scott Coates, WIG CEO, said: "We know shoppers want to stay connected with friends and family, especially when separated within a shopping centre, and to access retailers' websites.

"Delivering this level of consistent 4G coverage in a busy shopping centre venue requires investment in dedicated small cell infrastructure. Our partnership with Intu has enabled the largest shopping centre roll out of 4G in the UK and comes as part of our commitment to invest £100 million in small cell networks over the next three years."

Intu's Braehead, Merry Hill, Derby, Eldon Square, Watford, Victoria Centre and Uxbridge locations have also benefited from the company's network infrastructure upgrade.

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Wireless Infrastructure Group