German national train operator Deutsche Bahn has said it will spend €30 million to fit out its entire Intercity fleet with on-board WiFi services. The project will start this summer and the company said it plans to offer passenger WiFi services on all of its long-distance trains by the end of 2021.
DB already offers WiFi on its high-speed ICE services, where it is free for both First and Second Class travellers. However, Second Class passengers face a limit on the amount of data they can download.
Since 2016, Icomera has had the contract to supply WiFi on-board DB’s 2,272 ICE carriages. According to reports in the German press, the operator plans to use the “same technology” (multiple mobile connections) on its Intercity fleet. The trains will be also be equipped with an information and entertainment system, which currently is available on all ICE trains. The system will be available in all WiFi Intercity cars from early 2020.
In total, Deutsche Bahn says it will add WiFi to around 1,000 Intercity carriages. It also said it will be made available on 70 Intercity double-decker trains during 2020. The company carries fewer passengers per annum on its Intercity trains (53.2 million) than on its prestigious ICE services (86.7 million) which serve European destinations including Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam and Copenhagen.
DB says it has been modernizing the interior of the Intercity 1 fleet since mid-2018. Many of the wagons are also to be fitted with new upholstery and seat covers plus new toilets – in total this remodelling is costing the company some €18 million.
At the same time, Deutsche Bahn’s Supervisory Board announced this morning that it plans to sell off Arriva, its UK-based bus and rail operator which it acquired in 2010. Arriva, which employs 53,000 people, runs transport services in several European countries and generated revenues of €5·4 billion in 2018. According to press reports, the decision has been taken to generate funds to ensure that DB can keep its debt level within the limits set by the federal government.
For a full report on the German market for WiFi services on trains, please see BWCS’s online database www.Internet4trains.com .
Berno Friedl, the Senior Product Manager of Digital infrastructure at Deutsche Bahn, is to be one of the keynote speakers at this year’s WiFi on Trains Conference (www.Traincomms2019.com ). The Conference will discuss on-board WiFi, trackside networks and the growing market for passenger WiFi services and on-board entertainment and will take place in London on the 4th and 5th of June this year.
The 2019 conference is sponsored by Icomera, Nomad Digital, Fluidmesh, RADWIN and BAI Communications.
Germany is also one of over 30 national markets covered in www.Internet4trains.com , BWCS’ online database covering the niche market for on-train WiFi services across Europe and beyond.
For more information on the countries and suppliers covered by the online database please e-mail info@BWCS.com .