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T-Mobile improves coverage, capacity and accessibility in the North Sea

T-Mobile is improving mobile accessibility in the busiest and most navigated areas of the North Sea. To achieve this the provider is currently working on the first of a series of antenna sites in the North Sea, outside Dutch territorial waters. This is not only an important development for pleasure craft and fishing boats, but also for other commercial vessels including pilot boats, rescue services, the coast guard and maintenance staff working on North Sea wind farms and other offshore installations.

T-Mobile is making use of new network infrastructure of North Sea wind farms to construct these base stations. This enables the provider to offer a greatly improved mobile voice and data quality in the North Sea. And also improves the accessibility of emergency number 112 at sea. After the multi-band auction mid-next year, T-Mobile will also activate these base stations with 5G.

These improvements have been achieved by making use of transformer platforms, or ‘plug sockets’, for connecting North Sea wind farms. These are currently being built by high-voltage grid operator TenneT, who is responsible for the construction and maintenance of the Grid at Sea. This greatly improves the coverage and capacity of both calling and mobile internet and “Internet of Things” connectivity services with LTE-M & Narrow Band-IoT. The mobile network makes it possible to set up protected and private IP connections between offshore and the mainland. It also supports latest industry developments in Mission-Critical PTT over 4G, with links between private DMR / TETRA radio systems at sea and on land.

The platforms on which these stations are being built are officially in international waters, more than 12 miles (23 km) from the coast. A large part of the North Sea is also part of the Netherlands economic zone, where current permits are used for antenna sites at sea. These will also contribute towards accelerating the digital development of the Dutch offshore industry.

5G on the North Sea

From 2020 onwards T-Mobile will be using these offshore platforms to provide 5G coverage in the North Sea in addition to 3G and 4G technology. Richard Marijs, network strategist at T-Mobile: “We are pleased that we can use offshore infrastructure for connecting wind farms to improve mobile coverage at sea. Many people will soon benefit from this, both private and business. They will be better connected, easier and faster, with each other and the mainland. We are currently working on the first base station at the Borssele wind farm, which is also being prepared to enable 5G services in the near future.”

From West to North

The Dutch part of the North Sea is vast. In the first phase, T-Mobile will mainly improve coverage in the southern reaches of the Dutch North Sea, using the wind farms Borssele (2020), Hollandse Kust Zuid (2021) and Hollandse Kust Noord (2022). T-Mobile is still seeking partnerships with the offshore industry to provide mobile coverage in the more northerly reaches of the Dutch North Sea..

Source: T-Mobile newsroom

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