Telefonica Deutschland, Ericsson and Vantage Towers combined for a partly state-funded project to devise ways to provide high quality 5G connectivity across Germany’s railway network.

The trio will work with national railway operator Deutsche Bahn on the initiative, which carries €6.4 million of government funding and runs to end-2024.

It forms part of an aim by authorities to ensure gigabit speeds are available across the railway network and lay the foundations to cope with anticipated increased connectivity demands from passengers and infrastructure.

In its statement, the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMDV) explained those involved will jointly examine “technical solution concepts” along with proposing “legal and regulatory framework and business models”.

The project will include the creation of a test area on a 10km segment of track with several types of network and tower designs to be assessed.

Ericsson added among the options being looked into are towers that can be “securely screwed into the ground without the need for costly, less sustainable concrete foundations”, these are said to save time and cut the environmental impact of installation.

Part of the trial will include use of 5G on Telefonica Germany’s 3.6GHz frequencies to up data transmission rates.

Also included in the scope of the project is development of proposals for “cooperation models” between tower companies, rail operators and mobile operators on sharing assets without impacting competition.

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