A collaboration between German train firm Deutsche Bahn, kit vendor Ericsson, operator O2 Telefónica, and tower firm Vantage Towers has secured €6.4 million in funding from the German Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport (BMDV) to carry out the Gigabit Innovation Track (GINT) project. The objective of this project is to provide gigabit 5G speeds to train passengers in Germany and develop technical and financial options for implementation, all while minimizing the use of resources.

The involved companies aim to determine how to achieve reliable 5G on trains by 2024. To accomplish this, they will test ten ‘innovative’ towers of different designs along a roughly ten-kilometer section of track in Mecklenburg-West Pomerania. Examples of tower types being tested include those that can be securely anchored to the ground without the need for concrete foundations. Additionally, the project will explore the use of 5G on 3.6-gigahertz frequencies. Considering that one tower covers only around one kilometer of rail line, an estimated 20,000 new towers may be required throughout Germany.

Daniel Leimbach, Managing Director of Ericsson GmbH, said, “Creating a high-performance and resource-saving mobile network infrastructure along tracks for passenger communication and the FRMCS (Future Railway Mobile Communication System) is an exciting challenge in terms of technology.” He added that 5G technology with active and passive multiple input multiple output (MIMO) and beamforming technologies will be utilized.

Federal Minister for Digital and Transport, Dr. Volker Wissing, emphasized the necessity of high-quality gigabit coverage for ensuring a pleasant and convenient train experience for passengers. The GINT project aims to lay the foundation for achieving this goal.

This trial of new tower types and testing different frequency solutions could offer valuable insights for improving connectivity in various situations. The UK government, for example, could potentially benefit from these findings as it plans to enhance 5G in cities through its smart lamppost initiative.