Berne, 16 April 2008
Swisscom began planning the temporary mobile network one year ago. Six network elements were designed on a computer and then defined using on-site measurements. Swisscom was supported by the army in this process. Because setting up a temporary network in the Valais Alps is not just routine work but a major challenge. The terrain makes transport of the equipment more difficult and the low temperatures affect how efficiently the equipment functions.
Swisscom is working closely with the Glacier Patrol command to tackle this challenging task. Power supply and transport, for example, are provided by the army. A core team of eight Swisscom employees was involved in planning and supported by around 40 members of the military in the setup phase. During the competition, 34 people from the army's telecommunication division will be deployed to monitor the mobile network.
The infrastructure at the command post in Arolla enables the mobile network to be monitored 24 hours a day. Capacity overloads or faults can be quickly located and suitable measures undertaken immediately. Safety is important to Swisscom. Which is why calls from the patrol mobile phones will be prioritised in the network, meaning that they will be connected first. The Swisscom mobile network replaced the old SE-125 military network in 2006.
Three temporary GSM base stations were implemented this year for the Glacier Patrol. On the Dent Blanche (3507m), on "Barma" (2458m) and on the Mont Fort cable car (3308m). All three base stations are connected to a military radio link. Three repeaters were also installed for the race to route the received signals on the "Tête Blanche" (3724 m) , the "Bertol" (3311m) and "La Rosablanche" (3277m). The two "Unterrothorn" sites at Zermatt and Arolla are now permanently in operation. Both the local population and the tourists benefit.
Fans of the Glacier Patrol can refresh their knowledge about this unique alpine competition and learn about the development of telecommunications at the Swisscom booth in Verbier or take advantage of attractive offers.