Monday, 22 October 2007

Mobile service on trains rant

Can someone explain to me why I cannot, in this day and age, maintain a phone signal on a train? Specifically the train line from London to Nottingham.

I understand the physical issues around radio signals, fast moving receivers and static cells but surely technology exists to surmount that. I’m sure I remember hearing about a project to establish high quality phone signals to all train lines at a Vodafone wholesale conference once, what happened? In the Metro today they reported that mobile cells are being installed on aeroplanes, surely that’s harder/more expensive than a train.

The network operators have a captive audience on the train. People stuck in one place for an extended period are going to want to communicate, work, consume content, browse the web, anything to counteract the boredom.

I’m pretty sure Vodafone were advertising mobile TV as something you could do on the train. Maybe it’s possible on the train line from London to their Newbury HQ but not on the routes I use.

To me, it seems like a recipe for a collection of perfect consumers corralled into one location ready to devour as many minutes, texts or bytes that the network can support.

So if there is something I’m not understanding about the business model or the technology then please let me know.

Otherwise, Vodafone and all the other operators please get it sorted. I, and the train users of Britain, want to spend some more money with you.

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