TRANSPORTATION

Spain’s high-speed AVE trains to offer free onboard Wi-Fi internet access

Operator Renfe awards contract to Telefónica, which hopes to start service by end of 2015

A passenger prepares to board an AVE train.
A passenger prepares to board an AVE train.EFE

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.

More information

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.

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