A free Wi-Fi service will be accessible on the Tohoku, Joetsu, Hokuriku and Akita Shinkansen lines from the summer of 2018, East Japan Railway Co. (JR East) announced Nov. 7.
The new service will be available in 958 JR East Shinkansen cars, which is about 80 percent of the total, by the end of fiscal 2019.
West Japan Railway Co. (JR West), which operates a section of the Hokuriku Shinkansen Line, intends to provide a similar service.
The Tokaido Shinkansen Line, operated by Central Japan Railway Co., currently offers a free Wi-Fi service for passengers who have signed a prior contract with a telecommunication carrier.
JR East said that providing the service without such a contract is the first of its kind on Shinkansen lines.
JR East decided to do it because surveys by the Japan Tourism Agency and others showed that many foreign visitors felt inconvenienced by the lack of a free Wi-Fi service.
Foreign visitors and Japanese travelers will be able to use the new service after registering their e-mail address.
The service is not available in some tunnels and mountainous areas and also may stall or fail if a large amount of data is sent through such as when watching a movie.