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SBB free Wi-Fi, source: SBB

SBB tests faster Wi-Fi on long-distance trains

Swiss rail operator SBB started to test a solution for passengers named as ‘SBB Free Surf’. It provides free and faster Wi-Fi connections on the company’s long-distance trains. The new service will be tested for several months. If the tests will be successful, the solution could be extended to regional train traffic.

The service is available for passengers on 44 ICN trains running on the routes between Zurich and Geneva, St. Gallen and Lausanne, Basel and Biel/Bienne. The utility was launched on 28 May with an official ceremony at the Biel/Bienne railway station. After the trials, the service could be implemented on regional trains.

SBB Free Surf

The passengers can connect to the faster Wi-Fi via smartphone. The service is currently available for customers of Salt or Sunrise mobile operators, two largest ones in Switzerland. SBB is negotiating with Swisscom, the other popular mobile operator in the country, about a similar service.

To use the Wi-Fi connection freely during the test period, the travellers should install the ‘SBB Free Surf’ application. To activate the service, the passengers need to receive special SMS-code. After taking off a train or disconnecting the Wi-Fi, the passengers receive a message that the service is no longer available. The tourists without Salt or Sunrise SIM cards can also use the application.

International trains

The ‘SBB Free Surf’ internet service is based on good mobile coverage along the railway lines. It provides faster and more smooth connection than WLAN on the train. Moreover, SBB is equipping with WLAN its international trains, operating both in Switzerland and neighbouring countries, in order to launch a Wi-Fi connection at the end of the year.

Author: Mykola Zasiadko

Mykola Zasiadko is editor of online trade magazines RailTech.com and RailFreight.com.

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