Virgin Trains is planning to roll out Wi-Fi services on its trains, despite many users of mobile data cards and even mobile phone users complaining of difficulties in getting an adequate connection on existing services.
Because Virgin’s new trains are “sealed” to the outside environment, it is impossible to use a laptop data card on its trains, which relies on a mobile network from Vodafone or Orange, for instance, to access the internet.
These types of card are designed to allow users to access 2.5G and 3G services. Virgin passengers also find that they get regularly cut off when making a mobile phone call, if they can get a signal at all while travelling on the sealed trains.
Virgin previously told Computer Weekly that all its trains would be modified to overcome these problems, by allowing passengers to easily get an outside signal.
It had promised the trains would be modified well over a year ago, but passengers have found no improvement when trying to get a signal.
Now, Virgin intends to introduce paid-for Wi-Fi services to its trains, and is in the process of speaking to suppliers about providing a high-speed internet service.
Some trains on the GNER line on the east coast have provided a similar service for the past 18 months.
Virgin says it plans to introduce Wi-Fi over the next 12 to 18 months.