Bulgarian mobile carriers expand coverage to Sofia Metro

Patchy phone reception in the Sofia Metro ought to become a thing of the past with the new mobile broadband network built by Ericsson, Bulgaria’s three mobile carriers said in a joint statement on October 21.

The three operators – Telekom Austria-owned Mobiltel, Telenor’s Globul and Vivacom – would all be using the new network together.

Ericsson was awarded the contract to design, build and integrate the network, which becomes Bulgaria’s largest indoor mobile broadband network by default, about a year ago, Ericsson country manager for Bulgaria Milan Gospic told a news conference.

The network currently covers 23 stations of the Sofia Metro and about 36km of the Metro lines, he said.

It was built during the Metro downtime at night and, as smartphone obsessives would have noticed, has been operational and tested over the past two weeks. A live test during the news conference showed only a minor drop-off in connection speeds compared to above-ground network coverage.

The Metro network currently has full 2G and 3G voice and data capability and can be upgraded to offer 4G coverage whenever Bulgaria’s mobile operators decide to implement the fourth generation of mobile technology, Gospic said.

According to Stoyan Bratoev, general director of Sofia Metro operator Metropoliten, future expansion of the Sofia Metro – work is currently underway to complete the extensions to the Sofia Business Park in Mladost borough and the Sofia Airport – would also be covered by the metro broadband network, albeit with a delay of several months after the launch of the Metro service.

(Photo: Alex Bivol) 



The Sofia Globe staff

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