Vodafone: Further dead spots along the railway lines will be closed

Dead spots along German railway lines are still a major annoyance. An agreement between Deutsche Bahn and Vodafone is now set to change this.

For Federal Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP), it is “a good day for Germany as a digital location”: In the future, rail travelers will be able to use a stable mobile phone connection more and more frequently. Deutsche Bahn and Vodafone have agreed to jointly close the remaining gaps in the Vodafone mobile network on the rail routes throughout Germany.

Deutsche Bahn’s agreement with Vodafone is part of a larger master plan: Last summer, Deutsche Bahn had already concluded a similar network expansion agreement with Deutsche Telekom. The third provider, Telefónica (O2), is still being negotiated. The parties involved did not want to say why there is still a problem here.

“Our aim is for our customers to be able to make calls, work and surf the Internet without interruption on all routes and in all mobile phone networks,” said Daniela Gerd tom Markotten, Board Member for Digitization and Technology at Deutsche Bahn AG. The agreement with Vodafone is a great success here.

The expansion plan presented at Berlin Central Station envisages that Vodafone will provide the 7,800 kilometers of main traffic routes with bandwidths of 225 megabits per second in the 4G network (LTE) by mid-2025. The ICE and IC trains run here. The Düsseldorf provider also wants to activate its “5G+” network along these routes, which does not require LTE technology (“5G stand alone”). “5G+” offers particularly short data runtimes. Vodafone promises a seamless 4G network with bandwidths of at least 125 megabits per second by summer 2025 on a further 13,800 kilometers of routes with a higher volume of passengers.

Vodafone boss Ametsreiter wants to declare war on dead spots

Hannes Ametsreiter, the head of Vodafone Germany, said nine out of ten rail passengers used mobile internet or made calls on their smartphones. “And they are still annoyed far too often about annoying dead spots.” Together with Deutsche Bahn, Vodafone is now finally able to remedy the situation.

Vodafone has pledged to build 160 additional mobile base stations along the railway lines and to upgrade around 1,000 with technology. By 2024, “almost universal mobile phone coverage will be implemented”. But Deutsche Bahn also has homework to do: It will make more space and fiber optic infrastructure available along the rails than before. Mobile phone-permeable window panes should be used for train conversions so that the radio signals can reach the interior of the trains better.

Deutsche Telekom had already announced in June that it would have a complete supply of mobile communications on the rails by 2026. On the main routes, on which all ICE and the most important IC trains operate, the Magenta Group will offer a data rate of at least 200 megabits per second until the end of 2024. By the end of 2025, a data rate of at least 200 megabits per second should also be available on routes with a large number of passengers, on which more than 2,000 passengers travel every day. All other routes are to be supplied with a data rate of at least 100 megabits per second by the end of 2026.

Federal Transport Minister Wissing: “Contribution to climate protection”

Federal Transport Minister Wissing emphasized the connection between the expansion measures and the climate policy of the federal government: “Increasing the attractiveness of Deutsche Bahn is always a contribution to achieving our CO2 reduction goals.” His ministry had previously made a financial contribution to improve radio coverage along the route. It was about the radio technology GSM-R for the control of train traffic. GSM-R can be disrupted by conventional mobile phone networks. Therefore, the end devices in locomotives and railcars had to be converted to filter out the LTE signals. 55 million euros for the conversion of the railway radio came from the federal government. This means that Vodafone, Telekom and Telefónica can also activate their 900 MHz radio cells along railway lines from 2023.

The beneficiaries of the expansion initiatives are, on the one hand, travelers who have signed a mobile phone contract with Deutsche Telekom or Vodafone. However, passengers who travel in the networks of the competition or who do not use their own mobile phone contract at all also benefit indirectly. You can use the WiFi on board the trains, which is online via parallel mobile phone connections from Telekom, Vodafone and Telefónica.

According to the Pro-Rail Alliance, the entire rail network of all railways in Germany covers a route length of around 38,400 kilometers. Deutsche Bahn (DB Netz AG) is by far the largest network operator (33,400 km).

Source: com! professional by www.com-magazin.de.

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