Japan bullet trains to get WLAN internet access this week

10 Mar 2009

Four Japanese telecoms companies – NTT DoCoMo, Softbank Telecom, NTT Communications Corp and KDDI affiliate UQ Communications – will this week launch separate WLAN internet services on N700 series shinkansen trains running between Tokyo and Osaka, the Nikkei reports. The four firms anticipate high demand for wireless internet access from business travellers using laptop/notebook computers and from passengers with PDAs and other gaming devices that have wireless LAN connectivity. It is understood that passengers will be able to enjoy data transmission rates of up to 2Mbps even while the train is running at full speed or in a tunnel. The telcos are installing mobile stations in the trains that will serve as the access point to the wireless network. Usage fees are expected to be in the region of several hundred yen a month the paper writes, while customers with a subscription to a service provider’s existing Wi-Fi services will be able to enjoy the in-train service at no additional cost.