5G train trial to continue after Mobile World Congress
Hi-tech pilot scheme between Barcelona city center and fair venue will be extended to cover entire FGC rail network by 2023
A 5G pilot scheme on the Catalan government-run FGC railway is to be extended indefinitely beyond the Mobile World Congress (MWC), the world's largest exhibition for the mobile industry, which is due to take place in Barcelona from February 24 to 27.
The agreement between the government, FGC, the Mobile World Capital foundation and Vodafone will see 5G available at stations and platforms and along the route between the city center's Plaça Espanya station and the Europa Fira station, next to the MWC's venue.
According to FGC's head Ricard Font on Thursday, the rail company is working on extending the 5G coverage to its entire train network by 2023, beginning with the Baix Llobregat line (L8), which begins at the Plaça Espanya station.
FGC has installed 15 antennas to ensure 5G coverage of the beginning of L8 line as part of the 5G laboratory network being developed under the 5GBarcelona initiative backed by the government, the Barcelona city council, and MWCapital, among others.
Congress attendees traveling by train to the MWC will be the first to try out the 5G coverage on the line, which includes an augmented reality hologram helper who will welcome people to the international fair via their mobile phones.
The 5G service will also allow the authorities to test the sending of high-quality content from the cloud, while doing additional tests on the Internet of Things during moments when the trains are at their fullest.
5G beyond the MWC
The 5G service will continue after the MWC, which Font said would help in developing improvements to rail logistics and in creating new applications to improve passenger safety, such as increasing the capacity to provide travelers with remote assistance.
"From the start of the MWC we'll have a laboratory in which operators, telephone companies and technological developers will be able to do testing with 5G in circumstances that are very complex for connectivity: underground and inside a moving train," Font added.
In the mid-term, the trial 5G coverage will be extended to include the Arenas shopping mall next to the Plaça Espanya square, and the Gran Via 2 shopping mall next to the Fira de Barcelona convention center that hosts the MWC.