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Vodafone and Deutsche Bahn aim to close gaps in wireless connectivity on rail lines

Vodafone and Deutsche Bahn aim to close gaps in wireless connectivity on rail lines
photo: DB press materials/Vodafone and Deutsche Bahn aim to close gaps in wireless connectivity on rail lines
12 / 04 / 2022

DB has agreed to an infrastructure partnership with Vodafone to provide particularly busy ICE routes in Germany with a seamless, high-capacity LTE mobile network. The project is expected to be completed by 2025.

The deal will primarily benefit DB passengers who use Vodafone's network. The coverage will provide uninterrupted calls and fast and stable Internet access. It is being done to improve comfort onboard and attract more people to travel by train.

Vodafone and Deutsche Bahn's expansion plan calls for the network operator to provide 7,800 kilometres of trunk lines carrying ICE and IC trains with at least 225 megabits per second of LTE network capacity over the entire length by 2025. On 13,800 kilometres of high-passenger routes with more than 2,000 passengers per day, Vodafone will provide a seamless LTE network with at least 125 megabits per second throughput by the summer of 2025. To this end, the network operator will build 160 additional mobile stations and carry out around 1,000 upgrades. In addition, Vodafone is promoting the expansion of mobile communications along secondary lines to achieve almost universal mobile coverage here by 2024.

"Sending e-mails, streaming movies, talking on the phone with the family, - a stable mobile network is indispensable for our passengers. The fact that we are closing the last wireless gaps in the Vodafone network is great news for our mutual customers. We are thus making great strides toward our goal: all mobile communications networks must be available everywhere without any gaps. We want our customers to feel at home on the train or in their home office," said Dr. Daniela Gerd tom Markotten, Director of Digitalization and Technology at Deutsche Bahn AG.

Hannes Ametsreiter, Vodafone Germany CEO, "Nine out of ten rail passengers use the mobile Internet or make phone calls with their smartphones while on the move - and are still far too often annoyed by irritating wireless gaps. Together with Deutsche Bahn, we are finally taking remedial action and resolving one of the biggest annoyances for many millions of commuters and travellers. We are launching the 'Future Train' project. With the highest bandwidths, lightning-fast response times and clear goals: we are building a seamless cell phone network for all rail passengers and the most advanced 5G network in Europe for the fastest trains in Germany."

Dr. Volker Wissing, Federal Minister of Digital Affairs and Transport, comments, "We want to consistently digitize our trains. People should have a state-of-the-art mobility service on the railways which enables them to work and communicate digitally. With today's step, we are making progress on the way to a fast and seamless network of trains. I very much welcome this initiative. It brings us progress and makes rail even more attractive."

Vodafone is the first mobile operator in Germany to bring Europe's most advanced 5G technology to the trains. DB, in turn, is constantly working on technical innovations, such as mobile radio-permeable window panes, to channel signals even better into the train interior.