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Mobile coverage on European railways: a draft report to the Glasgow-Edinburgh Collaboration


Improving the mobile coverage on rail links provides benefits for both customers and transport providers. Passengers can be more productive during their journeys and rail companies can benefit from improved reputation and added value, which helps them attract and retain customers. This research study aimed to review the different technologies available to improve mobile coverage in tunnels. It was intended to inform decision-making on improving the Glasgow-Edinburgh rail link.


The methodology consisted of desk research to identify technology providers, followed up by telephone interviews to gather further information. The desk research included web searches of company websites and industry news sites as well as a search of the Business and Industry database which includes articles on companies, products and markets from over 1000 international trade and industry publications. 15 case studies were then produced outlining the main technological options and describing their implementation in projects for railway tunnels and cuttings, metro systems and road tunnels.


The study identified 15 case studies from ten European countries, ranging in scale form small projects covering a single tunnel to system-wide implementation of technologies. It found that there was a fairly standardised suite of technologies available. These focussed on the ‘radiating cable’ approach (where the cable acts as a continuous distributed antenna allowing mobile phones to work for the entire length of a tunnel) and the ‘repeater or amplifier’ technology (where signals are relayed from the base station to remote units in the tunnel or the train carriage). There were a few key suppliers in the industry. There was also evidence from the case studies that mobile network operators were keen to collaborate in infrastructure provision.


The report makes no recommendations.

Author SQW Consulting
Published Year 2010
Report Type Research
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