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Alton Towers iPhone app screenshot

Alton Towers has signed a deal with The Cloud to offer guests access to a free Wi-Fi network in the theme park.

The move had long been rumoured, with Alton Towers owner Merlin Entertainments Group already offering a free Wi-Fi service at one of its other major attractions, The London Eye. The service is expected to go live later in summer 2012, although no specific date has been given.

The park is installing the network to provide the ability for guests to easily connect to social networking services such as Facebook and Twitter. While this is already possible via mobile networks, the park's remote rural location and massive size means that coverage can be mixed.

Enabling guests to "check in" to social media sites will allow Alton Towers to offer targeted discounts on food and merchandise, encouraging further in-park spending. The park's official iPhone application will also function more effectively.

Alton Towers' head of consumer marketing, Katherine Duckworth, said of the deal: "The rapid growth in the use of smartphones and tablets has fundamentally changed how many of us use the internet and has increased people’s demand for internet access wherever they are, which is why we want to offer free Wi-Fi access to guests of Alton Towers Resort."

"The Resort is all about having fun and creating lasting memories, which people naturally want to tell their friends about on social networks and even share photos and videos throughout their day with us. The new Wi-Fi offering lets them do all this and more, making it a more personal and interactive experience."

The Cloud, which was acquired by pay-TV operator BSkyB in 2011, is one of the largest Wi-Fi operators in the UK. In total, it runs more than 10,000 hotspots around the country, some of which are free-to-access, and others of which require a one-off fee or subscription.

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