Since launching in 2010, the Gautrain has proven increasingly popular with commuters and holiday travellers alike. A drawback has been that mobile coverage didn’t extend to Gautrain’s underground stations, making it impossible to continue calls or keep up with work emails while waiting for the next train to arrive.
From today, that’s set to change for Vodacom customers. Over the past three months Vodacom, in partnership with the Department of Roads and Transport, the Gautrain Management Agency, Bombela Concession Company and the Strategic Partners Group, have been busy implementing a communication solution to ensure the stations no longer have coverage dead zones.
“I’ve always found it frustrating when I’ve gone into one of the underground station and couldn’t connect, especially when I’ve had some free time while waiting for the train. We pride ourselves on having the fastest and widest network in South Africa and now we can add ‘deepest’ coverage to that claim as well,” said Andries Delport, Vodacom’s Chief Technology Officer.
The solution is made up of distributed antenna systems located throughout the three stations. Each of these systems is connected via fibre-optic cable to network equipment located in Rosebank. 2G, 3G, and LTE (4G) services will all be enabled with this solution.
“This is the first phase of the process. Our next task is to work on ensuring that we have a seamless service throughout the Gautrain route. That means not dropping a call when you go into a tunnel. We’re currently in talks with our partners to roll this out,” said Delport.