(Yicai Global) Dec. 20 -- China's entire fleet of high-speed trains will be equipped with onboard Wi-Fi within the next four years, The Paper reported today, citing the head of the joint venture responsible for supplying smart connections to China's high-speed railroad network.
Some 1,500 bullet trains will be equipped with Wi-Fi by the end of next year and by 2023 all trains will have complete coverage, said Li Shiping, chief technology officer of China Railway Gecent Technology.
Special satellite transceivers are needed to transmit Wi-Fi signals on trains travelling at high speed. China's latest model in its Fuxing series of bullet trains is the world's fastest conventional high-speed train, designed to operate at 350 kilometers an hour.
The devices are being built into the newer Fuxing trains during assembly, Li said, adding that they have also begun to be installed in existing Hexie high-speed trains. The first Hexie train with complete Wi-Fi coverage started operation on Dec. 6.
Beijing-based CRGT is also exploring upgrading its services to fifth-generation wireless network technology. 5G base stations are being set up along certain sections of the high-speed rail network.
The firm intends to test the 5G signal on the Guangzhou to Shenzhen high-speed route around the Chinese Spring Festival holiday next month, Li said. It will also do trials on new stretches under construction, such as the Beijing to Zhangjiakou and Beijing to Xiongan lines.
CRGT was formed in July 2018 by China Railway Investment, automobile maker Zhejiang Geely Holding Group and internet giant Tencent Holdings. Its remit is to build an intelligent high-speed rail network and to provide travelers with smart services including Wi-Fi connectivity.