Avanti West Coast provides reliable high speed internet access to their passengers, connected by Pelion 

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Starting operation in December 2019, Avanti West Coast has more than 70 trains moving across the UK, between London and cities such as Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham, Glasgow, Edinburgh and North Wales calling at more than 40 stations. With millions of passengers travelling on their fleet of trains, Avanti’s focus is providing the best possible experience, including offering complimentary WiFi access on their trains, as well as their stations. In their search for the right connectivity solution to power their onboard WiFi, they had a range of key criteria to fulfil, including reliability, ease of management and simplified billing. 

The challenge 

Prior to partnering with Pelion, Avanti’s main challenge was the management of the SIM estate connecting their WiFi routers to the 4G networks. They had multiple providers with their own individual platforms and billing systems, requiring extra resource to manage. Their primary goal was to find a solution which could consolidate all their SIMs and contracts into one easy platform. With Pelion, they were able to access the best networks offering the right coverage and data plans perfectly tailored to their needs, without having to juggle a multitude of operators.   

“Pelion are highly competitive when it comes to pricing, even compared to what we’re offered directly by the MNOs. They were also very supportive when it came to transitioning. If you’re looking to take on a new connectivity provider, I would highly recommend Pelion.” 

Abdul Qayoom IT Service Manager 

 

The solution 

  • High quality, low latency 4G connectivity on multiple tier 1 networks 
  • Straightforward billing and highly competitive high-usage data plans 
  • Powerful, easy-to-use management platform 

When Avanti first approved Pelion as their main IoT connectivity provider, they’d finally found exactly what they needed: simplified management and invoicing, without sacrificing on coverage or speed. They were able to move quickly to install the Pelion SIMs, with testing and implementation complete within approximately one month.  

“Enabling Avanti to access multiple networks, on a single private APN and platform, has helped them to simplify managing their estate of SIMs while offering greater visibility of their connected devices. With over 70TBs of data being passed each month, Avanti is an extremely high user of data, compared to our customers with more traditional IoT applications. With 5G on the horizon and passenger numbers continuing to increase, we look forward to supporting Avanti as their usage and on-board applications for mobile data continue to grow” 

Account Executive, Pelion 

 

The Pelion SIM cards are installed in 4G routers on Avanti’s trains to provide secure, reliable connectivity onboard. The cellular routers also provide connectivity for a range of onboard systems, including their EPOS, CCTV and other backend technology.  

When it comes to daily management of their deployment, Avanti’s IT Service Manager Abdul Qayoom says, “I jump on to the Pelion portal to order new SIMs or check usage and invoicing information. It’s important to have sight of our usage, so I can increase or decrease bundle sizes to have control over our costs.”  

“We now have great visibility of our usage, and the support from the Pelion team has been excellent. Our account manager has been fantastic. Pelion worked closely with our onboard hardware suppliers to resolve any issues.“ 

Abdul Qayoom 

 

Future plans 

The SIM deployment was such a success that Avanti have had to order more SIMs, and with a new fleet of trains scheduled to roll onto the track from 2023, the current plan is to extend their partnership with Pelion to provide connectivity for these new trains as well. The intercity operator is also looking to improve cellular coverage and boost their connectivity service, with new and upgraded masts planned to be erected along the West Coast Main Line. Avanti is exploring – 5G connectivity and looking to trial new 5G antennas soon. Their goal? To revolutionise the public transport industry by offering 5G-powered WiFi to their customers. 

It’s an exciting time for Avanti and Pelion’s partnership. As the face of the telecom industry changes and as new technology is introduced, both sides are ready to be flexible and pioneer together. 

“We have so much flexibility with Pelion. We know exactly what’s available to us, we can chop and change as and when bundles are required, depending on our data usage. Pelion allow us to adapt to our needs – they’re flexible and we’re not locked into anything.”   

Abdul Qayoom 

 

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