Wireless Hotspots for trains

Hotwireless launched its wireless hotspot for trains technology in January 2012, with the first deployment in September 2012 with The Blue Train between Pretoria and Cape Town. 

Hotwireless makes use of highly advanced technology which switches towers and networks seamlessly. The Blue Train has had huge success with their on-board Wi-Fi and will be rolling out Wi-Fi on all their coaches by the end of February 2013.

​There is an increasing demand for Wi-Fi on rail. The availability of Wi-Fi connectivity on public transport has developed at an incredible speed. A 2007 report by SQW Consulting, ‘Wireless on the Move’ indicated that “business travellers have increasing expectations with relation to connectivity”, and customer research carried out in 2006 by YouGov found that over half of respondents want access to Wi-Fi services on trains.

This level of demand for Internet connectivity is demonstrated by experience on the UK’s East Coast passenger service. In 2006  Wi-Fi capability was installed on the entire fleet, and they then took the bold step of extending the Wi-Fi service to all passengers for free.

During the first month of operation the number of travellers using the service tripled with numbers rising from 30,000 users per month to over 200,000 – with 85% of laptop owners taking advantage of the service. Research carried out among passengers on the East Coast service has established that Wi-Fi availability had led to a model shift; 22% extra journeys were being made by train rather than by domestic air travel due to the presence of on-board Wi-Fi.

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