ProRail signs with Nokia for GSM-R managed services

digital railway night

Nokia will provide operational and managed services for ProRail’s GSM-Railway (GSM-R) voice and data communications network in the Netherlands. The infrastructure manager has also concluded a contract with telecommunications provider Cellnex to set up eighty masts next to the railway tracks that the company leases from ProRail.

Over a ten-year period, Nokia will provide managed services that include operational governance, network operations and fulfilment, as well as support services across capacity planning, change management, optimisation and field services for the Dutch GSM-R network..

Nokia will operate and maintain the network including radio planning, capacity management, management of third-party maintenance contracts, and network extensions, updates and upgrade projects.

Paving the way for FRMCS

Arjen Boersma, Chief Information Officer ProRail “This agreement represents a major step forward in our long-standing relationship with Nokia on GSM-R. It creates the platform for long-term system performance and operational efficiency, as well as paving the way for migration to the Future Railway Mobile Communication System (FRMCS).”

The delivery team of network planning and monitoring specialists will be based at Nokia’s Hoofddorp offices in the Netherlands, as well as Nokia’s Network Operations Center in Romania. Nokia has begun a two-year transition period from the current operator in order to begin operations in September 2022. Emmanuelle Pierrard, Head of Nokia Enterprise Benelux: “Increases in passenger and freight traffic will require smart and sustainable solutions and we are eager to play our part in helping ProRail achieve its goals.”

Extra masts

Over the next two years, Cellnex will build eighty new masts on ProRail grounds, which will be used for the GSM-R network. Because the coverage improves, this also offers more comfort for international train journeys over medium distances, according to ProRail. In addition, it is an important condition to be able to roll out ERTMS. According to the rail manager, the contract creates “a win-win situation”, with which ProRail “saves 30 percent in investment and management costs”.

Currently, ProRail uses four hundred antenna masts for the GSM-R network, which are mostly suspended on buildings. The railway manager will soon also be able to use the eighty new masts for this.

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Author: Esther Geerts


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