Utrecht,29 april 2021. Cellnex, Europe’s leading independent telecommunication infrastructure provider, with over 128.000 sites in Europe, was selected by ProRail as the Passive Infrastructure Provider (PIP) after a bid. Cellnex will be responsible for the management and expansion of the telecom sites for mobile connectivity along the railway tracks. For the implementation, Cellnex works together with VolkerWessels Telecom, specialist in designing,building and managing the digital infrastructure.
The contract allows Cellnex to set up 80 masts on railway land that it leases from ProRail. In addition, Cellnex is also allowed to rent the masts to other parties and may build another 100 masts on ProRail land. The contract creates a win-win situation for both parties.
ProRail uses its own network for mobile telecommunications, the GSM-R network. For the period 2021-2027, further digitization of the railway is central. The GSM-R network will be renewed. This means, among other things, that more telecom sites will have to be built. In addition, from Europe there are two other important developments: Digital Rail Operations (provided by the Future Railway Mobile Communication System (FRMCS)), and Gigabit Train, with which the sector wants to offer high-quality and fast internet to train passengers.
In addition to its role as a neutral telecom infrastructure provider for ProRail, Cellnex has the exclusivity for any BTS development along the whole rail network. Ed Boerema, Managing Director Cellnex Netherlands: “The total demand for passenger and freight transport is expected to increase by 30% by 2040. More movements on and around the track also means more demand of 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
Quality and safety are vital to ProRail and Cellnex. This also applies for VolkerWessels Telecom, that has been selected as a subcontractor after a market survey. VolkerWessels Telecom possesses all the necessary certifications and knows all the specifications of the network. Peter Jan Kamst, Sales Manager at VolkerWessels Telecom: “Working on and around the railway is not easy. It requires a great deal of responsibility from all the people in the team. Good mutual cooperation and short lines of communication are therefore crucial. The specialists of Cellnex and VolkerWessels Telecom complement each other perfectly.”
Arjen Boersma, Chief Information Officer at ProRail: “The number of train passengers in the Netherlands will increase by at least 30 percent in the next twenty years. That also means that more people in 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.“
Ed Boerema continues: “The digitization of the railways is not only important for the Netherlands, but is also a spearhead of the EU (“Green Deal”). As market leader in Europe, Cellnex is involved in railway projects as a neutral telecom infrastructure provider in various countries. We are happy to use the knowledge and experience of our colleagues at home and abroad to support ProRail in realizing its ambitions. We therefore look forward to a pleasant and long-term relationship in which we jointly build a sustainable track that is ready for the future. “