Dutch railway company ProRail has chosen telecommunication infrastructure provider Cellnex as the passive infrastructure provider (PIP) following a bid.
Cellnex will undertake the expansion and management of the telecom spots along the Dutch railway tracks for improving mobile connectivity.
The company will execute the project with IT service management company VolkerWessels Telecom, which was selected as a subcontractor after a market survey.
Cellnex is allowed to raise 80 masts on railway land leased from ProRail.
Furthermore, Cellnex can rent the masts to other entities and may set up additional 100 masts on ProRail land.
The railway company uses its own GSM-R network for mobile telecommunications.
For facilitating the digitalisation of the railway, which will be performed during 2021-2027, the GSM-R network will be renewed.
Cellnex Netherlands managing director Ed Boerema said: “The total demand for passenger and freight transport is expected to increase by 30% by 2040. More movements on and around the track also mean more demand for data and telecommunication services. And with the advent of 5G, more and more new applications are becoming possible. As a neutral and independent infrastructure provider, Cellnex can provide MNOs and other market parties with sufficient and suitable telecom sites along the track.”
ProRail chief information officer Arjen Boersma said: “The number of train passengers in the Netherlands will increase by at least 30% in the next 20 years. That also means that more people on the train will need mobile coverage and internet. With this step, we kill two birds with one stone: we create an important condition for running more trains, and it helps telecom providers and transporters to ensure that all those people in the train will soon have even better mobile coverage.”
The other essential mobile connectivity developments in Europe include Digital Rail Operations and Gigabit Train.
Digital Rail Operations is being offered by the Future Railway Mobile Communication System (FRMCS).
On the other hand, Gigabit Train is said to offer ‘high-quality’ and fast internet to rail commuters.