Wednesday, 29 April 2009

T-Mobile adds train WiFi to mobile broadband offer

One of the most appealing aspects of the the T-Mobile mobile broadband offer was the inclusion of unlimited access to their WiFi network. That network just got a bit bigger and more useful thanks to a deal struck this week to put T-Mobile WiFi Hotspots on Virgin's fleet of Pendolino West Coast Mainline trains. According to the T-Mobile press release: "The service will initially be rolled out on Virgin’s 52 Pendolino trains, and by mid Summer, the 21 Super Voyager trains will also be Wi-Fi enabled. Virgin’s West Coast Main Line services see around 22.5 million passenger journeys per annum."

There's a lot of common sense in rolling this out (and hopefully we'll see more). Intercity trains must be one of the highest usage locations for MBB outside the home/office, so better coverage and capacity is surely a great differentiator. Also, it guarantees a great QoS in areas where MBB coverage is usually lousy. I travel quite regularly from London to Cambridge and the network coverage for large parts of that journey is non-existent. Finally it reduces the need for the network to cope with all those connection set-ups and tear-downs that must be a nightmare for network management.

Now, if they could only do something about those British Rail Sandwiches*.

*"Joke" circa 1983.

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