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Press release

Mobile network operators and SBB to improve mobile phone reception in regional trains

Berne, 02 September 2014

Mobile phone reception in regional trains is set to improve in the coming years thanks to an agreement reached between Swisscom, Sunrise, Orange and SBB. Around 1,700 carriages serving the SBB regional transport network will be equipped with repeaters. The three mobile service providers will help cover part of the investment needed to equip the carriages with the repeaters and will be responsible for the operation of the signal boosters. Financial contributions from the federal government and the cantons will be needed. The mobile service providers will also erect new antennas at further locations along the regional railway lines to further improve mobile coverage.

Between 2010 and the end of 2014, the InTrainCom consortium, a group of three Swiss mobile service providers, working together with SBB, will have equipped all of SBB's intercity trains with signal amplifiers or "repeaters". These devices significantly improve the reception quality and data speed for passengers.

Next in line are the nearly 1,700 coaches serving the SBB regional network. They are to be equipped with repeaters to improve mobile service reception on regional routes by the end of 2020, as jointly agreed by the InTrainCom consortium and SBB. To make this possible, SBB will be dependent on financial solutions being found with the federal government and the cantons; the relevant discussions with the federal government are under way. Preparations for installing the repeaters are already under way, starting with the Regio Dosto fleet. Installations in the rest of the regional and S-Bahn trains will follow as of 2015. By 2020, around 900,000 passengers will thus be able to benefit every day from improved mobile service reception when travelling on Switzerland's regional railways.


Additional antenna sites for external mobile coverage also planned

In addition to the signal boosters in the trains, the mobile service providers are also adding new antennas to further expand external mobile coverage. A total of over CHF 300 million will be invested in mobile coverage in regional and S-Bahn trains up until 2020. This joint solution applies to all regional railway operators.

Together with the SBB, the InTrainCom consortium has already installed more than 90% of the intercity fleet with signal boosters. The installations in all intercity trains should be completed by the end of 2014.


Carriages shielded against mobile signals

Due to the way in which carriages are constructed, they act as a Faraday cage, i.e. a fully enclosed shell that works as an electrical shield against mobile signals and other electromagnetic fields. This is the reason why signal boosters (repeaters) have to be installed in trains. The signal is received by an external antenna attached to the train and is amplified in the interior of the train. This bypasses the shielding effect of the train coaches.


Swisscom AG
Media Relations
3050 Bern