News from BWCS

Paris Metro Moves Closer to Fully 5G Future- As Orange Pips Cellnex for Latest Line Contract

Wed 1 Jun 2022

SGP (Société du Grand Paris), the state-owned company behind the hugely ambitious Grand Paris Express metro project, has awarded the contract to cover line 15 with 5G connectivity to tower company Totem – a subsidiary of mobile operator Orange. According to SPG, all travellers on the new line in Paris will have access to 5G from launch at the end of 2024.

The new route in question, will boast 16 stations along its 33km length between Pont de Sevres and Noisy-Champs. Totem says it will deploy a mobile indoor Distributed Antenna System (DAS) network and that work should be completed by the beginning of 2025. Under the terms of the deal, Totem provide the investment capital and will operate the network on a commercial “open access” basis – meaning that other mobile operators will be granted equal terms to Orange.

Spanish company Cellnex has already been signed up to deploy 5G equipment and antennas on lines 16 and 17. These too will enter service by the end of 2024. The call for tenders for line 18 has just been launched and SPG is keen to point out that its new Parisian lines will be the first in Europe to be fully covered by 5G.

Despite the fact that the new lines have had 5G integrated into the design from the get-go, the work will still be not easy. Thierry Papin, head of Totem, explained to French newspaper Les Echos “The tunnels are very deep on line 15. In Villejuif, a shaft 60 meters deep was dug for the new station, on several floors. This creates complexity as such. And then there are all the corridors, knowing that it is out of the question that there should be even the smallest area of non-coverage. In addition, these are trains with more than 1,000 passengers, which will travel at 60 kmph.”

Totem says that it plans to utilise around 1,000 radio antennas along the length of Line 15. It will place a bi-directional antenna every 400 meters in the tunnels and hundreds of small cells in the station corridors. The company estimates that the entire cost will be in the region of 10 million euros and it should take just over 40,000 hours of work.

Cellnex, which will work on lines 16 and 17 is expected to invest a similar amount. The Spanish tower company already offers this type of service in the UK for Network Rail, for ProRail in the Netherlands and on the main metro lines in Milan, Genoa and Brescia. In Spain, Cellnex manages connectivity on the Madrid Metro as well as on Line 9 of the Barcelona Metro.

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