European 5G project aims to end cross-border internet dropouts

5GMED successfully tested on remote-control vehicles and high-speed trains crossing French border

A live test of a remote-control vehicle crossing the French border
A live test of a remote-control vehicle crossing the French border / Gemma Tubert

ACN | @agenciaacn | Peralada

June 27, 2024 01:23 PM

June 27, 2024 06:31 PM

Internet dropouts caused by crossing borders could be consigned to history after successful tests using a system based on 5G technology as part of an EU project.

The initiative has recorded positive results on remote-control vehicles crossing the French border and on a high-speed train in the Perthus Tunnel, which runs through the Catalan Pyrenees and links France and Spain.

In both cases, the system is able to prevent the internet connection from temporarily cutting off when changing between network operators.

The project began four years ago and is coordinated by Cellnex Telecom, with around twenty other partners including Mobile World Capital Barcelona, ​​Autopistas, SNCF and Comsa.

The system has not yet reached the commercialization phase, but the forecast is that it will gradually be implemented across all borders in the EU.


The 5GMED project cost around €16 million – €12 million in public funding – and has 21 partners from seven countries.

Four years on from the project's inception, an event in Peralada in the north of Catalonia showed its capabilities.

A live demonstration of the technology featured the remote driving of a vehicle crossing from La Jonquera to the French side of the border, right at the point where the network coverage changes.

"We all know that when you cross a border, your mobile phone's signal goes and then you get a message from the other operator to reconnect," explained Cellnex Telecom's director of business development and innovation, Oscar Pallarols.

"This transition, however, is unthinkable if you are, for example, driving a car at 120 km/h," Pallarols added.

"This project has driven an autonomous vehicle using 5G technology across the French-Spanish border, and therefore changing networks between the French and Spanish operators without the car stopping," Oscar Pallarols, from Cellnex Telecom, said.


The group has also tested the system on high-speed trains traveling through the Perthus tunnel at 300 km/h. "Users enjoy perfect connectivity, better than at home, but sitting in a train in a tunnel at high speed," explained Pallarols.

Cellnex is already working on another project between Poland and the Czech Republic. "The aim of Europe is to extend it to the rest of the borders of the countries of the EU," Pallarols said.