In the report, which describes the current situation and outlines how the railways in Norway can improve mobile coverage, the directorate has proposed developing better coverage around Oslo, Bergen, Trondheim and Stavanger as a first step to improving the country’s mobile telecommunications network for railway passengers.
The Railway Directorate says Norway has some of the highest rates of smartphone and tablet use in the world, passengers expect to be able to use their devices just as easily while on a train as they do when at work, at home or in a car. However, poor signal along some routes, combined with the “Faraday cage” effect caused by the metal coach body, was causing lower-than-expected levels of mobile connectivity inside trains.
The solutions include installing antennas and mobile amplifiers in tunnels and repeaters and amplifiers on trains as well as upgraded lineside base stations.
“A packed train of 600 passengers, where everyone wants the best internet coverage, challenges more players - not just mobile operators,” the report states. “The sharp increase in train passengers puts both mobile operators, train companies, (rolling stock leasing company) Norwegian Train and (infrastructure manager) Bane Nor to the test.”
The plan was prepared in consultation with Bane Nor, Norwegian Train and telecom operators Telenor, ICE and Telia to get a thorough overview of the current situation, as well finding new solutions.