Berne, 13 April 2010
Swisscom began planning the temporary mobile network a year ago. Six locations for the network elements were designed on a computer and then defined using on-site measurements. Since setting up a temporary network in the Valais Alps is not simply routine work but represents a major challenge, Swisscom received support from the army in this task. The high-alpine terrain makes transporting the equipment more difficult, while the low temperatures mean it functions less efficiently.
Swisscom is working closely with the Patrouille des Glaciers command and the Armed Forces Command Support Organisation to tackle this challenging task. The power supply, transport and directional beam links, for example, are provided by the army. A core team of eight Swisscom employees carried out the planning and were supported by around 20 members of the military during the setup phase. During the competition, 35 people from the army's telecoms division will be deployed to monitor the mobile network for Swisscom.
The infrastructure at the command post in Sion allows the organisers to monitor the mobile network 24 hours a day. Capacity overloads or faults can be quickly located and suitable measures implemented immediately by the temporary intervention group in Arolla. To further increase safety, calls from the 'Patrouille' mobile phones are prioritised in the network. The Swisscom mobile network replaced the earlier SE-125 military network in 2006.
Three temporary GSM base stations were installed for the Patrouille des Glaciers this year, at the Dent Blanche mountain hut (3507m), at "La Barma" (2458m) and at the Mont Fort cable car (3328m). All three base stations were connected to the Swisscom network via a military radio link. Three repeaters were also installed for the race on the "Tête Blanche" glacier (3710m), at the Bertol mountain hut (3311m) and on the "Rosablanche" glacier (3277m) to retransmit the signals received.