Mobile coverage in Sydney train tunnels 15 years in the making: Optus

Mobile phone coverage in Sydney's train tunnels was 15 years in the making, according to Optus

Optus has revealed that the network infrastructure upgrade to bring mobile phone coverage into Sydney's train tunnels was a project that was 15 years in the making.

"It's been quite a challenging road," says Optus' vice president of mobile engineering, Andrew Smith.
"It's been quite a challenging road," says Optus' vice president of mobile engineering, Andrew Smith.

Speaking at the launch announcement of the company's new multi-band 4G rollout in Canberra, Optus' vice president of mobile engineering, Andrew Smith, said it took almost 15 years to gain the required approvals to implement the technology in Sydney's much maligned railway network.

One of the real issues was always safety because we are building systems inside tunnels.

"It's taken that long to get the approvals, we got a lot of support from the incoming state Government to push it through," Smith explained.

"One of the real issues was always safety because we are building systems inside tunnels, and also the age of those tunnels. That was a big part of the barrier of being able to satisfy the railways that we can implement a safe solution in association to the agreements," he explained.

"We've had collaboration from the carriers to get a solution in there so it's not a competitive issue, but it's been quite a challenging road. We were in a position where the support level went up and that started to get things rolling. You need lots of maintenance access and things like that which you can't just expect to get."

As part of the initial rollout which began in July last year, the North Shore and Western Lines of the CityRail network were the first to receive mobile coverage through tunnels between Central and Chatswood stations. The service was then extended to all train tunnels on the City Circle line in April this year.

"The tester was that North Shore segment, that was a big thing for us to work with the railway and they were pleased how we worked with them. We moved very, very quickly in the City Circle and now we are working on the Eastern Suburbs line."

"There will be other segments beyond that but that's sort of our three stage plan."

Despite confirming works are currently taking place to bring the same coverage to tunnels on the Eastern Suburbs Line, Optus has not committed to an estimated completion date. The latest rollout requires 18 kilometres of cable between Erskineville and Bondi Junction stations.

The overall mobile network rollout is a three way partnership between Optus, the NSW Government and RailCorp, a an agency of the Government responsible for the operation and maintenance of Sydney's CityRail train network.

From Monday 1 July, RailCorp will be broken up and split into two new specialist organisations. Sydney Trains will serve regular, suburban line services while NSW Trains will be responsible for all intercity, regional and country services.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags cityrailmobile networksSydney Trainsmobile phonesnswsmartphonesoptus

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Ross Catanzariti

Ross Catanzariti

PC World
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Best Deals on Good Gear Guide

Latest News Articles


GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy


First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni


For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell


The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi


The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott


My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?