The jury is still out on whether or not the Gautrain route between Johannesburg and Pretoria will be a success or not – and one of the issues being raised is whether or not commuters will be able to communicate effectively via 3G.
“Besides the current confusion surrounding pricing, one of the issues I think that is very important is just how effective will 3G communication be while travelling on the train?” asks Christopher Riley, MD of the Notebook Company. “Has the Gautrain management team – and cellular providers – actually checked that 3G on the Gautrain is really portable and that seamless connections are intact while travelling?”
Riley believes that if reception is erratic – or non-existent – a “significant portion” of business travelers will arguably opt not to use the Gautrain.
“The 3G technology is meant to be a transportable Internet service, but it does seem to work a lot better when you do not move from repeater to repeater. This acts to make transmission very spotty, something the business traveler will really not appreciate,” he explains.