Passengers will be able to save their 3G data usage when traveling by train in Vietnam as free Wi-Fi access is slated to become available on the country’s north to south express train by the end of this month, local media reported.
Installation of the Wi-Fi system is expected to be completed by January 21 to serve passengers during Tet (Lunar New Year), economic newswire The Saigon Times Online quoted Nguyen Van Binh, deputy general director of the Hanoi railway operator, as saying on January 3.
Wi-Fi access will be available free of charge on the SE1, SE2, SE3, and SE4 trains on the railway that connects Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.
Vietnam Railways, the state-owned operator of the railway system, has been working with military-run telecom operator Viettel on the wireless Internet network installation, according to The Saigon Times Online.
If the installation goes smoothly on the first four selected trains, it will be applied to all Vietnam Railways trains, according to company representatives.
Binh asserted with The Saigon Times Online that testing of the Wi-Fi system on the Vietnam Railways trains has shown good results thanks to the Wi-Fi receivers and transmitters Viettel installed along the railway system from north to south.
But no Internet access is available when the trains enter tunnels, he noted.
“We will publicize the maps showing the sections where free Wi-Fi is available and not available to help passengers,” he said.
The railway sector is hoping that the modern technology will help increase its competitiveness against other means of public transportation.
Passengers can now access the Internet using a 3G connection on their own devices, but connectivity is not stable when the trains travel at high speed or past locations where 3G signals are weak.
Wi-Fi access is currently available at certain major train stations such as Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.
But the free Wi-Fi is not welcomed by all passengers.
Hanoi-based newswire VnExpress quoted many passengers as saying that they need clean toilets on trains first, rather than free Internet connection.
Toilets on trains in Vietnam are often said to be lacking in hygiene and cleanliness.
“Maybe the free Internet is intended to distract passengers from the dirty toilets,” a reader ironically mocked.
Passengers also pointed out many issues the railway sector needs to solve, including the high ticket prices and late schedules.