Oslo Metro first in the world to control trains over the mobile network

Telia provides the services to enable Oslo Metro (Sporveien) to be the first company in the world to use a public mobile network to manage the metro.

Image: Cato Hellesjø from Oslo Metro, Telia Norway Head of Enterprise Market Jon Christian Hillestad and city council representative Arild Hermstad marked the contract signing in a metro car.

Oslo transport operator Sporveien has chosen Telia's mobile network for the implementation of a new signal system for the operation of the metro in Oslo. Among other things, the new signaling system facilitates more frequent departures and better traffic management. The technology in the signal system is based on wireless communication, and Sporveien chose Telia as the provider of wireless communication to support the signal system over its mobile network.

"We are very proud to finalize this prestigious agreement," says Jon Christian Hillestad, head of Telia's enterprise market division. "This is an innovative approach that will ensure a reliable, scalable and future-proof service in a cost-effective way. Our platform will support the robustness of the signal system to provide higher capacity, lower risk of error and a higher level of security. This is fundamental to maintaining a high punctuality for Sporveien's customers and ensuring that the Oslo metro remains the most attractive way to travel by public transport."

The Datalink service is part of Telia Company's Enterprise Mobile Network (EMN) portfolio. This portfolio offers technologies catering to the growing demand for advanced and customized connectivity solutions for industrial needs. These are managed services with individual service agreements and are an important prerequisite for enabling enterprise customers' digitization processes. Telia already supplies a customized, highly reliable managed network to the Stockholm metro system.

"Sporveien has demanded a service with very strict requirements for availability and capacity. As a challenger who dares to take new paths, we are proud to offer this service in our open, commercial mobile network. This is a proof point for the opportunities that are now coming in mobile technology and the customer-specific solutions we will offer through our EMN portfolio,” says Hillestad. "Through this agreement with Sporveien, we will gain experience that will be useful with a view to the next generation of emergency networks that will enter the commercial mobile networks.

Forward-looking, higher reliability and lower costs
In the new signal system, the data transmission to the metro trains goes over a wireless connection. In other cities with similar signal systems, the solution is usually based on Wi-Fi networks, built specifically for the signal system. With the rapid development of mobile technology, Sporveien believes the time has come for more forward-looking solutions.

"The goal of Sporveien is to give the residents of the Oslo region the most and best possible metro for the money," says Sporveien manager Cato Hellesjø. "Norway has world-class mobile coverage. Mobile networks are characterized by advanced services, good coverage and high stability. By controlling the new signal system over existing mobile networks, we use proven technology in a new and smart way. By taking advantage of developments in the mobile market, we get a better and more forward-looking solution with higher reliability, and we avoid building and maintaining our own Wi-Fi networks."

Increasing interest
Sporveien is the first player in Norway to implement this type of solution to such an extent, but Telia sees an increasing interest from many different industries that need customized solutions, guaranteed service quality, and not least secure and robust communication. "This will be an important prerequisite for the digitization of many Norwegian companies, and Telia is ready to contribute," says Hillestad.

Telia has an existing world-class mobile network along Oslo's metro lines, including depots. Based on statistics for 2019, the documented availability for coverage of the metro tracks outside tunnels is 99.992 percent, even before Telia goes in for making the network even more robust.

"We are committed to supporting Sporveien's strategy of having the Nordic region's best solution for efficient and environmentally friendly public transport, and are very happy and proud to be part of this journey," says Hillestad.

The agreement Sporveien has signed with Telia has a value of around NOK 100 million over the lifetime of the signal system. The agreement constitutes the main component of the communication solution for the new signal system and sets strict requirements for availability and service level. Telia will ensure, among other things, that there is always full mobile coverage along all the metro lines, and that data transmission to the signal system will be prioritized even during periods of heavy traffic on the mobile network. In addition, Telia will assist in introducing and testing the new signal system.

Facts: The new signaling system for the Oslo metro
• Sporveien will replace existing signaling systems with a new signaling system, based on CBTC technology. CBTC stands for Communication Based Train Control. This is a modern fully digital system that controls and secures metro rail traffic. The system is based on wireless communication between trains and infrastructure.

• The technology makes it possible, among other things, to operate with shorter distances between the metro trains. This makes traffic flow smoother and faster. The technology facilitates more frequent and more precise departures than is possible with today's signal system.

• CBTC is now industry-standard and is already in use in New York, Paris, Copenhagen and a number of other major cities.

• The project carried out by Sporveien is to be implemented within a cost framework of NOK 5.4 billion. The signal system is scheduled to be completed in the metro by the end of 2027.