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Paris Metro is now 100% covered with LTE

Paris Metro may not be the oldest in the world but it is still one of the world's oldest. Having first opened in 1900, it was last expanded in 2013. It it no doubt that this was the main motivation for the Régie Autonome des Transports Parisiens or RATP excitedly announced that 100% of Paris metro is now covered in 4G!

Mobile Europe reported:

The network was a joint effort between France’s four mobile operators – Bouygues Telecom, Free Mobile, SFR and Orange. 

The service works in the Metro's tunnels and on trains, according to Régie Autonome des Transports Parisiens (RATP), the authority that runs the city’s Metro and the Réseau Express Régional (RER – the city’s suburban rail network).

There is also coverage at the RER stations that intersect with Metro lines.

The service enables access to passenger information such as via the RATP and Via Navigo applications.

According to RATP, operators had to jointly manage many technical constraints for the installation of 300km of cables, 3,000 antennas and 280 technical hubs or rooms, many underground, and sometimes more than 100 years old.

Some 321 telecom sites have been set up on the network to cover 304 underground stations, including access to them, plus platforms and tunnels.

Three sites have also been created to house operators’ equipment outside certain stations to work round space and air conditioning constraints.

RATP says it is the first historic transport network to offer access to 4G on its entire network.

While I am not sure who is the vendor for the Paris metro, Nokia has been conducting extensive tests in the Paris underground. Nokia, within a consortium called SYSTUF, conducted a trial project in real-world conditions on Paris metro line 14. The white paper available here presents this project and its results.

The video embedded below presents the SYSTUF project and its results. It is in French with English voiceover.

In another recent announcement, Nokia said that they and ENGIE Solutions will be deploying LTE wireless network for Grand Paris Express lines 15, 16, 17.

The Société du Grand Paris (SGP) has selected a consortium comprising Nokia and ENGIE Solutions to deploy an industrial grade LTE private wireless network for new automated lines of the Grand Paris Express metro.

The project will cover over 200 kilometers of new lines, 68 new metro stations and all of the metro trains running on Paris metro lines 15, 16 and 17 routes.

The project will provide critical, high-speed wireless connectivity services that will meet all future Grand Paris Express operational and maintenance requirements, as well as its transportation network emergency and security needs.

Deployment of a private wireless network is part of an innovative approach by the Société du Grand Paris, as it replaces conventional technologies traditionally used in metro transport with LTE – a highly reliable, secure, broadband technology.

Nokia will deploy an LTE private mobile radio solution designed for operational communications and indoor/outdoor connectivity across all Grand Paris Express stations, lines and depots. These include voice, data (file transfer and multimedia support) and video services (transmission, on-board video surveillance). The global leader in rail communications network deployments, and pioneering the private wireless space across many verticals, Nokia now has over 130 large enterprise customers using 4.9G/LTE and 5G private wireless networks around the world.

While the news is all about 4G, in the 2019 annual results (published in March 2020), RATP announced:

The upgrading of stations and passenger information (€170m), encompassing significant advances in service quality: continuing the deployment of 3G/4G (90% of stations covered at the end of 2019), new display screens for waiting times on metro line 4 and RER suburban line A, launch of the new RATP app in June 2019, the possibility to charge Navigo passes and buy travel passes via smartphone, upgrading and renovation of spaces with, in particular, the improvement of cleaning devices for stations and trains, and “nudge” operations on 3 metro lines and 10 multimodal hubs.
RATP Connect continued to deploy 3G/4G throughout the Paris metro, with 325 stations equipped at the end of 2019, reaching 90% of the network. 

Good to know that the lines have 3G along with 4G as this is very useful considering many devices still do not use 4G VoLTE for voice calls.

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