Onboard connectivity boost for rail passengers

Onboard connectivity boost for rail passengers

Market news |
By Wisse Hettinga

Recent analysis by Frost & Sullivan finds that the total passenger rail connectivity market is expected to be worth $9.77 billion by 2025, led by Western Europe and followed by North America and Eastern Europe. Much of this growth is expected to be driven by collaborations among railway industry participants, digital technology providers, and connectivity solution providers to offer connectivity and onboard entertainment to improve the overall passenger experience.

“Railways’ shift to advanced 4G Long-term Evolution (LTE) technology from the traditional Global System for Mobile Communications – Railway (GSM-R) through partnerships with mobile service providers will improve mobile connectivity all along the railway line,” said Guruguhan Nataraj, Senior Research Analyst, Mobility. “Investments in erecting mobile network towers similar to wayside communications-based train control (CBTC) on the rail routes and equipping trains with mobile network boosters will enable consistent connectivity for passengers and increase passenger rail traffic.”

Nataraj notes that factors such as geography and topography play a vital role in ensuring seamless quality of service on railroads – for example tunnels, mountainous regions, and remote areas along the track length make it more difficult to set up connectivity systems.

“Furthermore, the high speed of trains creates a type of Doppler effect when a passenger onboard tries to make use of the connectivity solution. To eliminate this issue, multiple hardware units have to be set up at regular intervals to ensure overlapping of signal coverage,” adds Nataraj.

Other factors that can increase revenue opportunities for rolling stock manufacturers, railway operators, as well as digital technology and network connectivity providers include investments in communication infrastructure; offering door-to-door connectivity systems through digitalization of train reservations combined with first- and last-mile connections using common mobile application platforms; partnerships among automotive companies, digital technology providers, and mobile networking companies; as well as shifting toward automated operations.

The report, Passenger Rail Connectivity Market in Europe and North America, Forecast to 2025, can be found at

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