On-Train Wi-Fi User Numbers to Rocket

The number of passengers accessing Wi-Fi on trains across Europe is set to soar to over 5.3 billion by 2028, almost five times the current total, according to figures from Internet4Trains.com, BWCS’ new online database launched today.

In 2018, the number of train travellers using onboard Internet services in Europe stood at just over 1.27 billion (12%) of the total and BWCS predicts that this will rise to over 5.3 billion (43% of total) within ten years.

However, the consultancy warns that without significant investment in many markets, the onboard Wi-Fi services may fail to meet passenger expectations.

BWCS believes that a mixture of customer demand, competition and the arrival of new rolling stock will help boost the rate of on-train connectivity significantly. Yet, improvements must be made in all trackside wireless networks over the next ten years, to keep customers happy.

Internet4trains.com demonstrates that while some national train operators and their smaller rivals have fully embraced putting Wi-Fi onto their trains, others are taking a more cautious approach or even by-passing it or ignoring it altogether.

BWCS consultant Ross Parsons says: “The level of Wi-Fi implementation varies enormously across Europe. It ranges from 100% of trains in Ireland, down to Belgium, where national train company SNCB has decided against launching any services. The UK, with 65.4% of train carriages offering Wi-Fi, is one of the leaders in this sector – ranking seventh among European countries, but leading the major rail markets, such as France (22.9%), Germany (16.9%) and Italy (16.6%).”

BWCS warned that the mere existence of on-train WiFi does not always equate to a  high level of service, with coverage and download speeds euphemistically described as ‘mixed’ across each market and the continent in general.

By 2028, as onboard Wi-Fi becomes prevalent in regional and commuter train services across Europe, as well as the more common installations on long-distance and high-speed services, BWCS projects that 76% of all train carriages in Europe will be equipped to offer passenger Wi-Fi, up from 30.6% in 2018.

Internet4Trains.com is a continuously updated, online database covering a series of national markets for Wi-Fi on Trains, the operators – established and emerging – as well as all of the major suppliers.

For the first time, BWCS has brought together all of its contacts, knowledge, research and reporting of this market in one place. The Internet4Trains.com database covers all of the European markets for on-train Wi-Fi services. In addition, China, India and the USA will be added in early 2019, and other markets included on an on-going basis.

BWCS is constantly monitoring developments in the Wi-Fi on Trains sector within each national market.

Onboard Wi-Fi, trackside networks, the growing market for passenger Wi-Fi services and onboard entertainment will also be the main subjects of BWCS’s Wi-Fi on Trains Conference 2019 on 4-5 June.

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