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An industry group argues that wireless operators and other companies should be doing more to monetize WiFi service.

The newly released report from the Wireless Broadband Alliance particularly highlighted the potential for location-based advertising on WiFi to "deliver beacon-style proximity capabilities at scale."

Subsequent "value-added service models" would supplement current WiFi access, analysts said, as well as create revenue for operators and improve customer retention and market awareness for advertisers.

Companies could also take advantage of push alerts, geo-targeting and "geo-conquesting," the report added.

"Interest in WiFi advertising and location services is growing as service providers search for new ways to monetize WiFi and generate new revenue streams," WBA General Manager Tiago Rodrigues said in a statement. "It’s also clear there is a growing awareness and acceptance amongst consumers that data on their location, movement and behavior can be exchanged for free WiFi."

Analysts said that because WiFi is widely available in many areas, crowded public spaces such as city centers, shopping malls and stadiums would be most conducive to location-based advertising.

The report pointed to two companies already taking advantage of those capabilities: Boingo, which targets ads to consumers in exchange for WiFi access at airports, and Devicescape, which uses mobile advertising to encourage donations to Cancer Research UK.

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