German national train operator Deutsche Bahn has said it will spend €30m to fit out its entire Intercity fleet with on-board Wi-Fi services.

The project will start in the middle of this year and the company said it plans to offer passenger Wi-Fi services on all of its long-distance trains by the end of 2021.

DB already offers Wi-Fi 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 Wi-Fi 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 Wi-Fi Intercity cars from early 2020.

In total, Deutsche Bahn says it will add Wi-Fi 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 modernising 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 €18m.

At the same time, Deutsche Bahn’s Supervisory Board announced 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 €5.4bn 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 Wi-Fi services on trains, please see BWCS’s online database.

Berno Friedl, the senior product manager of digital infrastructure at Deutsche Bahn, is to be one of the keynote speakers at this year’s Wi-Fi on Trains Conference. The conference will discuss on-board Wi-Fi, trackside networks and the growing market for passenger Wi-Fi services and on-board entertainment and will take place in London on the 4-5 June this year.

For more information on the conference please fill out the enquiry form on this page.