WiFi reaches the AVE by the hand of Telefónica
The path towards digital transformation in Renfe materializes with the arrival of Wi Fi on high speed trains. Without a doubt, a milestone in the travel experience for the user. In addition, thanks to Telefónica, its technological partner on this route, travelers will be able to enjoy PlayRenfe, an entertainment platform full of content.
Renfe and Telefónica come together to transform the way of traveling on AVE with the incorporation of an open Wi Fi network for all travelers and with the development of the new platform PlayRenfea multimedia content service offered by Movistar +, which will allow access to movies, series, music, books or courses available in the Telefónica service catalog.
In the words of the president of Renfe, Pablo VazquezPlayRenfe “is a milestone in the history of high speed in Spain and is going to become a benchmark. We connect high speed trains that go 300 kilometers per hour and that have to have the same connectivity that we enjoy at home. That is very complicated technologically, and what the engineers have done is a feat.”
And it is that, a few days ago we had the opportunity to witness live and direct the premiere of the WiFi connection and the PlayRenfe service on board an AVE heading to La Sagra from the Atocha station in Madrid, in an act where they were present the current Minister of Justice, Rafael Catalaand the Presidents of Renfe and Telefónica Spain, Pablo Vazquez and Luis Miguel Gilperez, respectively. The test result? Good connectivity for browsing and watching series like Big Bang Theory or movies like StarWars without any cuts. The digital transformation is already a reality, and Telefónica sees this process “as a set of actions and capabilities that make this journey possible”. And in this sense, aspects such as innovation, entrepreneurship and digital education are crucial, the President of Telefónica Spain pointed out in this regard.
What is PlayRenfe?
PlayRenfe emerges in this scenario, which is more than just the availability of WiFi. “This is a proposal that responds to the digital transformation and innovation strategy that Renfe offers its AVE service customers, through a new Wi Fi connectivity window, which also includes exclusive content for each type of traveler and new services”, explained the Minister during the presentation. The service will start to be available during a first beta phase from November 5 to December 5 so that users can test and leave their comments about it. As of December 5, and coinciding with the 25th anniversary of the AVE, it will be installed on the Madrid/Seville line.
The objective of both companies is to deploy, throughout 2017, the network to provide coverage for more than 1,600 km of AVE lines, including 75 tunnels and 540 LTE coverage sites, in a network of 800 and 1,800 MHz, combined by a satellite solution. The main problem that we usually find when traveling is the failure in the coverage, but work is already being done on it to solve it. “What we really provide is Wi Fi data coverage that guarantees connection even in tunnels because we have developed a signal buffering solution. All AVE routes have been reviewed to overcome those difficulties that existed, guaranteeing that there will no longer be cuts in this type of communication”, Gilpérez highlighted.
During the journey, the general director of Renfe Viajeros, Ramón Azuara, wanted to emphasize that it is a pioneering project for several reasons: “We are going to provide a service that is not only Wi Fi, but also offers a content platform to the letter. On the other hand, users can use the platform to purchase Renfe products. We are going to provide a service to 20 million AVE users and, lastly, it has been a very important technological challenge because we are dealing with trains that travel at 300 kilometers per hour and weigh 400 tons. To carry out this entire installation, Telefónica has carried out important technological development work that combines 4G and LTE with satellite technology to achieve maximum coverage and offer live television.
In short, Renfe’s objective is to ensure the link with its customers and generate business, growth and competitiveness for the future. For this, its main axes are:
- Customer loyalty. Renfe has a challenge, to understand its customers. Therefore, offer what they demand. “With PlayRenfe we want to delve into this scenario, and we hope to generate that link that allows us to work on a deeper understanding,” says Berta Barrero, Renfe’s Director General of Operations.
- Value generation Business to Business and Business to Customer.
- Reinforced competitive positioningbecause “we don’t want to be just a carrier but everyone’s company”.
For Renfe, the PlayRenfe service is a new Market Place that offers its customers and members the richness of the quality of its content, its updating, à la carte selection and individualized management. During 2017 improvements will be added to this proposal. For example, during the first quarter it is planned to incorporate a Market Place that allows the downloading and/or purchase of newspapers and magazines, or the online sale of Renfe products and services. It is also expected that information about the route and customer service can be obtained through the application.
What are the offers?
PlayRenfe offers two service packages: Basic and Premium, although in both you will be able to enjoy connectivity throughout the journey. The differences between them are:
–Basic package: Free service for users with a +Renfe or +Renfe Plata card. For clients outside these plans, it will cost 2 euros. Includes 20MB data connectivity, access from one device, and extensive new content. However, the +Renfe card is free and is obtained at the time it is requested via the web, thereby obtaining access to the Basic plan.
–premium package: available for preferential class tickets or customers with a +Renfe Oro or +Renfe Premium card. For users outside these plans, it will cost 4 euros. This service includes 100 MB of free browsing, with access to all the premieres of the platform, with three devices, and to live TV.
Undoubtedly, this technological event represents a before and after in the way users travel. Undoubtedly, WiFi reaches high speed trains to make our trips more enjoyable, a need that users demanded. We have already tried it, what are you waiting for?