Orange tests network coverage in UK rail tunnels, planning to roll out its solution within two years

December 10, 2003

2 Min Read

LONDON -- Orange has successfully completed the first phase of tests to deliver continuous network coverage throughout the UK's rail tunnels. Tests carried out in an 850 metre tunnel on the East Coast line show that calls can be maintained throughout tunnels, overcoming one of the most frustrating problems of travelling mobile phone users.

The tests, conducted along the East Coast network rail line, and at the Alstom test facility in Leicestershire, have demonstrated that full coverage can be provided throughout the entire length of the tunnel using selected antennae close to the entrance even when trains are travelling at speed. The tests, conducted on a regular GNER passenger service using a variety of devices, are the first of a number of planned trials.

Orange is planning to conduct another three in-tunnel trials on the East Coast and Great Western primary routes by the end of January 2004. Once these tests have been conducted, Orange plans to roll out the solution across all primary rail routes within the next two years.

Commenting on the plan to deploy network coverage in tunnels, Allan Oakman, head of network planning at Orange said: "Dropped calls and data connections are, quite simply, inconvenient and frustrating for UK mobile users, especially as business users are becoming increasingly mobile. We are carrying out these tests to determine how we can continue to provide network coverage in places where our customers demand it. We are working in partnership with the necessary rail authorities and other operators to improve our network rail coverage."

According to Pim Bilderbeek, Vice President of Telecommunications and Networks Research for IDC in Europe: "Your work is wherever you are. Your workplace should be wherever you want to be. Any enterprise with a focus on customer satisfaction and employee effectiveness can't justify dropped calls or data links when travelling."

Andrew Hill, ICT Manager at the General Teaching Council said: "It is important that our employees have greater flexibility as to when and where they work, be it on a train, in a hotel or at a school. Network coverage in tunnels will help overcome one of the perennial problems of working on the train and will allow us to work continuously whenever we are travelling."

The solution will address the challenge of providing network coverage throughout the UK's rail tunnels and deep cuttings that cause frustration for those using mobile phones and connected laptops whilst travelling.

Orange SA

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