Mobile operators and railway undertakings were invited to improve the state of railway connectivity after nine out of ten passengers reported difficulties in accessing voice, text and data services.
uSwitch research found that 88 percent of people had connection problems on the Internet, with 56 poor cents struggling to maintain a 4G or 4G signal. More than half said calls were canceled while 38 percent could not send text messages.
The operators sought better coverage of the main railway lines, and the government was looking for ways to improve the situation – including 5G. It has also been suggested that Network Rail's fiber optic network can be used to provide the necessary backhaul.
Improving cellular connectivity, however, is difficult because the signals tend to lift off the wagons rather than penetrating them. Most train operators have therefore addressed Wi-Fi to solve the problem, which has proved unsatisfactory. Two-thirds of passengers say it is difficult to connect Wi-Fi by train.
Another fascinating finding from the uSwitch report is that the most popular applications are social media and music streaming. This shows that not only commuters are frustrated by the lack of coverage.
"[Train] Wi-Fi connections are rarely as fast or reliable as home broadband users, which limits the performance of data-intensive apps and services that people have become accustomed to," said Ru Bhikha, Mobile Expert uSwitch.
"In addition, free networks that are not password protected are becoming increasingly vulnerable to fraud ̵
"Combined with the fact that many train operators have introduced time limits – some of which are only 15 minutes – means that these WI-FI networks are often unsuitable for the purpose and pose a security risk.
"In conjunction with incomplete 3G or 4G reception on the road, frustrating intermittent connections can create activity during morning commuting.
"Both network operators and railway operators should work together to provide the infrastructure needed to supply the vital arteries with Britain's workforce."