Gautrain: Don’t expect Wi-Fi anytime soon

Gautrain, the rapid rail network in Gauteng, has made a u-turn on its plans to launch a Wi-Fi service.

The operator of the railway system which links Johannesburg, Pretoria, Ekhuruleni and OR Tambo International Airport, originally told BusinessTech in June that it hoped to launch a Wi-Fi service before the end of the year.

However, on Thursday (30 October),┬áspokesman Ingrid Jensen said: “Wi-Fi will not be available on the Gautrain system any time soon.”

A plan to provide mobile signal is still in the pipeline with a service provider already appointed, and installations are already in process; however, Jensen said there is no timeline for the roll-out at this stage.

The spokesperson said that mobile connectivity would be available at underground stations but not in tunnels.

Gauteng MEC for Roads and Transport, Ismail Vadi, said in November 2012 that an agreement has been reached with all the mobile operators that full mobile communications services should be made available to Gautrain commuters by July 2014.

Eben Albertyn, chief technology officer at MTN, told TimesLive that some progress had been made.

“A combined solution to address station, tunnel, track-side and in-coach coverage has been presented to Bombela and Gautrain executives for high-level approval in order to begin technical evaluation.

“Bombela is yet to indicate to MTN where it should place the base station equipment.”

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Gautrain: Don’t expect Wi-Fi anytime soon