Telenor Norway deploys 4G in road tunnels

Bjørn Amundsen, Telenor Norway director of coverage

Telenor Norway revealed that it, and other mobile operators in the country, have deployed 4G in 21 road tunnels in 2016, as part of plans to boost traffic safety and improve coverage for consumer services.

The operator said carriers are working with the Norwegian Public Roads Administration (NPRA) on an upgrade programme that will see up to 200 of Norway’s 1,100 road tunnels equipped with 4G coverage in the coming years. Some 500 of the total number of tunnels already offer mobile access, either on 2G, 3G or 4G, Telenor stated.

Bjørn Amundsen, Telenor Norway’s director of coverage, said mobile coverage was added to, or upgraded, in 26 tunnels during 2015, and that over 50 will be upgraded in total during 2016 -- more than the operator has ever “developed in one year,” he explained.

Those projects include the Vålerenga, Svartdal, and Blåkolltunnelen tunnels, which Telenor explained are three of the most heavily used road tunnels in Norway.

The project will see a further 70 tunnels equipped with 4G in 2017, the operator stated. Mobile operators are able to conduct the network improvements when tunnels are closed to traffic by the NPRA while it conducts other safety improvements.

NPRA chief engineer Arild Petter Søvik said improved mobile coverage in road tunnels is a welcome boost in terms of road safety. “It is reassuring that rescue workers and motorists can communicate both via radio, emergency telephones, and mobile phones.” The NPRA has already equipped many road tunnels with camera surveillance and emergency telephones, and deployed DAB radio access in around 300 tunnels.

Amundsen noted that the network upgrades offer more than just safety improvements. “We know that good mobile coverage is especially important for commuters,” he said, adding that 4G also “makes it possible to have an office on the move, or let your children surf the net in the rear.”

The current push to upgrade mobile access in Norway’s existing tunnel networks, which spans around 1,100km, is being matched in new builds Amundsen said. The NPRA adds between 20km and 30km of new tunnels each year, and Telenor “will from now on…build 4G” in those sites, he explained.

For more:
- see this Telenor Norway announcement (in Norwegian)

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