Melbourne rail commuters can now call, text, email and browse the Internet on their mobiles, tablets and laptops while travelling through the City Loop underground tunnels, thanks to a partnership between the Victorian Government, Public Transport Victoria, VicTrack and our major carriers, Telstra, Optus and Vodafone.
David Epstein, Vice President Corporate and Regulatory Affairs at Optus, has said that commuters will be able to utilise Optus’ 3G voice and data coverage to all commuters using the Flagstaff, Melbourne Central and Parliament underground station platforms and throughout the City Loop tunnels as well.
“Whether you’re making a call, checking work emails or streaming your favourite show, commuters now have mobile coverage throughout the City Loop”
Mr Epstein continued to say that:
“As the lead carrier for this complex project, Optus is pleased to provide mobile coverage for Loop commuters as we know how important it is for customers to stay connected, wherever they are. Optus is continually investing and expanding our network in order to provide customers with a great experience, reliable coverage and super-fast download speeds.”
The project is being delivered in two phases with the first phase, the start of 3G mobile phone coverage, now complete and the second phase, 4G services, expected in late 2016. Final testing has now been completed and the 3G service is being switched on today.
Telstra is on-board as well, announcing that their 3G and 4G mobile coverage in the Melbourne city loop has been activated today as well.
Public Transport Victoria (PTV) is saying that the 3G mobile service in Melbourne exceeds the quality of coverage found in many other capital cities, which sometimes have limited coverage in their rail tunnels.
Explaining how the mobile coverage will work in the loop service, PTV has said that the mobile coverage service works off installed carrier equipment using common antennae infrastructure (with the Digital Train Radio System), including 10.5 kilometres of ‘leaky feeder’ cabling, 22 in-tunnel directional antennas and 12 repeater sites. This ensures that there is full 3G mobile coverage across all 12 kilometres of tunnels and Flagstaff, Melbourne Central and Parliament Stations.
Of course, this development comes off a similar project by lead provider Optus (and including Vodafone and Telstra) in rolling out mobile coverage to Sydney’s City Circle and Eastern Suburbs line tunnels which went live in 2013.
Optus has said that to celebrate the coverage switch on, AM peak rail commuters at Melbourne Central station today can pick up a myki phone sleeve from Optus during the morning peak (while stocks last). Telstra was giving away free coffee to commuters too, jumping on board with the promotion for the new coverage.