Greyhound Launches UK Inter-City Services With Free Wi-Fi From Icomera

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Iconic coach operator chooses Icomera Moovbox M200 mobile broadband gateway for on-board Internet

Greyhound coach with Wi-Fi

Despite the growth of 3G coverage, passengers will take advantage of free Wi-Fi where it's available, to avoid eating into monthly bandwidth allowances and to reduce the very high costs of data roaming outside the home cellular network.

Icomera, the world's leading provider of cellular broadband gateways, has announced that Greyhound has selected Icomera's award-winning Moovbox M200 Mobile Broadband Gateway to provide Wi-Fi connectivity and GPS tracking on inter-city coach services in the United Kingdom. Greyhound, owned by Scotland-based transport giant FirstGroup plc, launched direct services from London to Southampton and London to Portsmouth with forty journeys each way, each day. The free Wi-Fi hotspot service will provide passengers with Internet access at speeds up to several megabits per second, using a 3G HSPA network connection from Vodafone. In addition to free Wi-Fi, passengers will benefit from at-seat power sockets, reclining leather seats and complimentary newspapers. Fares start at just £1 plus 50p booking fee. FirstGroup is evaluating plans to roll out new Greyhound UK services from 2010.

"Despite our low fare prices we want to offer our customer the very highest level of amenities on board the new Greyhound services," said Alex Warner, Managing Director of Greyhound UK. "Wi-Fi is becoming increasingly popular on public transport - indeed our research suggests that that Internet connectivity is a high priority for our customers. FirstGroup has installed Icomera's mobile Wi-Fi hotspot technology on many other UK routes, and it has proved popular as well as reliable."

The Moovbox M200 Mobile Broadband Gateway acts as a bridge between a vehicle and high-speed cellular data networks including 3G/HSPA, EV-DO and WiMAX, providing Wi-Fi access and an Ethernet-based local area network (LAN) for connecting on-board systems such as CCTV and passenger information systems. The M200 also has integrated GPS receiver for real-time automatic vehicle location (AVL) via the web-based MoovManage service.

"We're delighted that FirstGroup has selected Icomera to provide the on-board Internet technology for its new Greyhound UK services," said Dave Palmer, Senior Vice President of Worldwide Sales at Icomera. "Despite the growth of 3G coverage, passengers will take advantage of free Wi-Fi where it's available, to avoid eating into monthly bandwidth allowances and to reduce the very high costs of data roaming outside the home cellular network."

With the proliferation of Wi-Fi enabled portable devices such as the iPhone, iPod Touch, Blackberry and netbooks, free on-board Wi-Fi is rapidly becoming expected by rail, bus and coach passengers, especially on commuter routes and inter-city transport services. All five major UK transport operators - FirstGroup, Stagecoach, Arriva, National Express and Go-Ahead - have deployed Icomera Internet systems on key routes favoured by commuters, students and international travelers, serving over 50,000 Internet connections every week.

About Icomera AB
Established in 1999, Icomera is the world's leading provider of cellular broadband gateways delivering Internet connectivity for passenger transport, public safety and enterprise applications. Icomera technology bridges wide-area cellular networks such as 3G/HSPA and WiMAX with local Wi-Fi and Ethernet access. Icomera's award-winning Moovbox devices are deployed on rail, road and sea in over 22 countries providing real-time high-speed access for passenger Wi-Fi, fleet tracking and control of mission critical on-board systems. Icomera is headquartered in Sweden with offices in the United Kingdom and the United States, and channel partners worldwide. For more information visit http://www.icomera.com.

About FirstGroup plc
FirstGroup plc is the leading transport operator in the UK and North America with annualised revenues of over £6 billion a year. It employs approximately 136,000 staff and transports some 2.5 billion passengers a year.

UK Bus
The Group is Britain's largest bus operator running more than one in five of all local bus services. A fleet of nearly 9,000 buses carries approximately 3 million passengers a day in more than 40 major towns and cities.

UK Rail

  •     The Group operates one quarter of the UK passenger rail network, with a balanced portfolio of intercity, commuter and regional services, carrying some 285 million passengers per annum.
  •     The Group is the UK's largest rail operator with four passenger franchises - First Capital Connect, First Great Western, ScotRail and First TransPennine Express - and one open access operator, First Hull Trains.
  •     The Group operates rail freight services through First GBRf and operates the Croydon Tramlink network on behalf of Transport for London carrying nearly 28 million passengers a year.

North America

  •     In North America the Group has four operating divisions: Yellow School Buses (First Student), Transit Contracting and Management Services (First Transit), Vehicle Fleet Maintenance and Support Services (First Services) and intercity-coach services (Greyhound). Headquartered in Cincinnati, FirstGroup America Inc. operates across the US and Canada.

Europe

  •     In mainland Europe the Group operates some 150 buses in south west Germany and, with its partner DSB, we operate the Øresund rail franchise which includes routes in and between Denmark and Sweden.

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Jim Baker
Icomra
+44 (0)7834 551206
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Niall Dowds
FirstGroup plc
+44 (0)1224 650011
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