Swiss operators Swisscom, Sunrise and Orange have extended plans to improve mobile coverage along the country’s railways by equipping carriages on regional routes with repeaters.
The operators’ InTrainCom consortium has been working since 2010 on equipping all of national rail operator SBB’s carriages with signal boosters, improving reception and data download speeds. The project will be completed by the end of the year, with more than 90 percent of carriages equipped.
InTrainCom now plans to bring repeaters to around 1,700 carriages on SBB’s regional transport network. Each of the three operators will part fund the project, which will cost more than CHF300 million (€248.3 million). They will also set up new antennas along train lines in order to improve coverage in rural areas.
The first trains to receive the repeaters will be the Regio Dosto fleet, with installation along the rest of Switzerland’s regional and S-Bahn trains to follow next year. Swisscom said that by 2020, around 900,000 passengers will have improved mobile coverage when travelling along the regional rail network.
The operator said the project was needed because carriages effectively act as a Faraday cage, which blocks out mobile and other electromagnetic signals. By adding an external antenna onto the train and amplifying it into carriages, operators can bypass the effect of how trains are built.
The InTrainCom project is not the first time the operators have worked together. In July, Swisscom, Sunrise and Orange revealed they had teamed up to develop a new NFC-based payments system called Tapit.