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Huawei is appointed as GSM-R provider for Zambia’s first railway line that attains ERTMS Regional standard

Mar 25, 2014

Shenzhen, China, March 24, 2014 – Huawei, a leading global information and communications technology (ICT) solutions provider, announced that it has partnered with Zambia Railways Limited (ZRL) and global rail industry leader Bombardier Transportation to deploy Zambia’s first Global System for Mobile Communication – Railway (GSM-R) communication infrastructure for the Chingola-Livingstone railway line. Under a USD 51 million contract, both companies will support ZRL on the roll out of this project in collaboration with local company GMC Technologies.

Following a grant of USD 120 million from the Zambian government in 2013 to upgrade the signal-tracking capability of the Chingola-Livingstone railway line, the adoption of GSM-R signaling and telecommunications technologies will further enhance the railway line’s safety and data transmission capacity.

Bombardier in cooperation with Huawei will implement the state-of-the-art signaling and telecommunication technology, to further improve safety and capacity of the railway line. The train signaling technology will be designed and implemented by Bombardier using their proven BOMBARDIER INTERFLO 550 communications-based signaling system with full automatic train protection (ATP).

In this project, Huawei will take charge of the design and implementation of GSM-R, a digital radio system for operational train to ground communication. To ensure voice dispatching and ERTMS/ETCS mission-critical services at highest level of reliability, Zambia’s GSM-R network will be equipped with Huawei’s IP based ATCA core network and Distributed Base Stations. As a specialty to Zambia Railways network, communication between the Base Stations (backhaul) will be performed through Huawei’s Microwave technology. Applying Microwave transmission helps the railway line dramatically reduce CAPEX and become less vulnerable to vandalism and theft compared to common fixed networks.

This microwave backhaul will be utilized as transportation layer for GSM-R, mission-critical (signaling) and non mission-critical systems (CCTV). Microwave backhauls are commonly used in the telecom industry (carrier business), but rarely seen in the railway industry. Leveraging its extensive technical expertise, Huawei successfully demonstrated the outstanding availability and reliability figures of this solution.

“For railway lines with underdeveloped fixed networks and rare optical resources, a reliable wireless network solution is crucial for achieving enhanced safety and management efficiency,” said Mr. Fan Wen, Managing Director of Huawei in Zambia. “Huawei’s partnership with ZRL is a testament to Huawei’s unwavering commitment to Africa, in providing industry-leading ICT technologies and solutions to help regional and rural communities improve and develop local infrastructure including railway lines.”

With over twenty years of experience in the telecommunications field, Huawei’s GSM-R product and solution portfolio enables interoperability between communication systems of railway companies and equipment vendors, ensuring highest level of service quality for conventional and high speed trains at all times. Leveraging its extensive technical expertise and experience in the transportation industry, Huawei has helped railway operators successfully deploy GSM-R systems across Africa, Asia, Australia, and Europe, covering over 20,650km of railway lines.

The ZRL is a private company incorporated and registered in Zambia which operates Zambia Railways, which comprises over 900 kilometers of mainline railways and 300 kilometers of branch line railways. The Chingola-Livingstone railway line, one of the key railway lines of Zambia Railways, was built in the early twentieth century with a total length of 980 kilometers. It connects Lusaka with Chingola, a city in copper-mining region in the north, and Livingstone, the tourism centre for Victoria Falls in the southwest of Africa.

Mr. Fan Wen, Managing Director of Huawei (front row, 2nd from right), Mr. Valentine Paramasivam, Vice President, Bombardier (front row, 3rd to left) and Prof. Muyenga Atanga, CEO of ZRL(front row, 2nd to left), officiated the Chingola-Livingstone railway project partnership signing ceremony under the witness of senior executives from Huawei, ZRL and Bombardier.

Huawei’s industry-leading Distributed Base Station can significantly reduce handover time and simplify frequency planning