German train operator Deutsche Bahn has nailed its colours to the mast and vowed to boost WiFi on Train connectivity by working directly with Deutsche Telekom. The transport company chairman, Richard Lutz, made the promise in a joint press conference with the telco this week. Speaking at the rail company’s Berlin HQ, he announced a new partnership between the two corporate giants. The pair plan to expand mobile track-side coverage and eradicate “funklochs” (notspots)
Addressing the assembled members of the press, Lutz, naturally, gave his outfit star billing “Trains are not just a means of transport to our customers – they are an office, conference room, and place to relax all at the same time,” he said.
He went on “To do all that, our passengers rightly demand that there be gap-free coverage with the mobile communications network. We are now laying the foundations needed to achieve this.”
Deutsche Bahn’s has some 7,800km of “major routes” used by its Intercity Express trains, out of a total network of 33,400km. Deutsche Telekom, the former state telecoms company said that it will aim to supply fast train to shore mobile broadband connectivity on these routes by 2024.
By 2025, DT says that it should be able to supply improved track-side coverage to a further 13,800km of relatively heavily used tracks. The remainder of the DB network will be covered by 2026.
The telecoms company admitted that the often-patchy mobile coverage of Germany’s railway networks has long been considered one of the weakest areas of the country’s telecommunications network.
Six years ago, the government had given a deadline of 2019 for mobile operators to take “action to improve coverage along the rail network”. However, little in the way of concrete improvements were forthcoming. According to a report by the Federal Network Agency, there are around 550 fewer antennas near railway tracks than are needed to provide consistent service.
The German Minister for Transport, Andreas Scheuer, who was also at the gathering welcomed the new partnership. “The time of ‘I have no network’ must come to an end,” he said. “Mobile surfing and telephony must be possible everywhere and at all times.”
Track-side connectivity and on-board WiFi provision will be the main subjects of BWCS’s WiFi on Trains Conference later this year.
The full list of speakers at this year’s Conference is available here … www.Traincomms.com where you can also sign up for our Free WiFi on Trains News Service.
The 2021 conference (www.Traincomms.com ) is sponsored by Icomera, Nomad Digital, RADWIN, Westermo and GlobalReach Technology.
Also, for Wireless Suppliers who may be interested, BWCS has launched a brand new conference on the growing market for private wireless networks and 5G services at Ports – please see www.PortComms2021.com where the full programme is now available.
The full programme for this year’s WiFi on Trains Conference – Traincomms 2021 – is now ready – www.Traincomms.com .
The Conference is back to being Live and In-Person this year and we very much look forward to seeing as many of you as possible again on November the 16th and 17th in London.