Commuters on South Africa’s Gautrain will have access to full mobile communications services by July 2014 after an agreement was reached with mobile operators for implementation.
The announcement was made by Ismail Vadi, Gauteng MEC for Roads and Transport, who said representatives from MTN, Vodacom, Cell C, Telkom had agreed on a plan with the Gautrain Management Agency and the Bombela Concession Company.
The Gautrain is an 80 kilometre railway system linking Johannesburg with Pretoria and OR Tambo International Airport.
Vadi said he was “truly encouraged by this new partnership with mobile operators, which will see commuters enjoying much-needed communication services while travelling on the Gautrain”.
The plan is to be implemented in three stages, with cell phone communications services to be provided in underground stations by June next year, while cellphone coverage will be spread to the tunnel section by December next year.
The final stage will see “top quality” voice connectivity across the full rail system, by June 2014.
Vadi said that the commercial agreement must not compromise the commercial and operational interests of each of the parties, saying the intention of the service was to serve the public good. He said mobile connectivity was essential during delays, and would allow commuters to let relevant people know of their changed travel plans.