Spanish rail operator Renfe is planning to offer passengers free wireless internet access aboard its high-speed AVE trains from the end of this year.
Former state telecommunications company Telefónica beat out rival Vodafone to win the €148.6-million contract to provide the service aboard the trains.
Under the terms of the deal, Wi-Fi will also be available at all main train stations on Renfe’s commuter lines
Under the terms of the 10-year deal, Wi-Fi will also be available at all main train stations on Renfe’s commuter lines, said industry sources.
In a bid to get more of a return on its investment, Renfe is planning to roll out a free basic service covering email and web surfing, and a premium pay service offering greater speeds based on 4G and satellite technology.
Telefónica hopes to start offering onboard Wi-Fi access on its busier lines, such as the Madrid-Barcelona route, by the end of December. The service will gradually extend to all 89 AVE trains over the next two years.
Renfe plans to invest €40 million to install all the necessary equipment, and said it sees the new internet service as a “strategic” move to attract more customers with a view to a future scenario in which Spanish rail travel will be open to competition.
English version by Susana Urra.