Bulgarian mobile operators M-Tel, Cosmo Bulgaria (trading under the GloBul brand) and Vivacom have launched a joint 3.5G DC-HSPA+ network to cover the underground rail system in the capital Sofia. Local news agency Capital reports that the three companies have invested a total of EUR1.7 million (USD2.32 million) in the deployment. According to the article, 23 of the 27 stations in operation are currently covered by the mobile network, which provides maximum download/upload speeds of up to 42Mbps/5.76Mbps; the network setup consists of 400 antennas and 61 active remote controlled stations. Milan Gospich, CEO of Ericsson Bulgaria, said: ‘This is the largest indoor mobile network in Bulgaria and even in this part of the world’, adding that future routes will also be covered by the DC-HSPA+ network, six to seven months after a station is completed. Sections of the networks situated at Tsarigradsko Shouse at Sofia Airport and Mladost 1 at Business Park are currently under construction.
According to TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, in November 2012 M-Tel, GloBul and Vivacom joined together to begin the construction of cellular networks to cover the underground rail system in Sofia, in order to reduce their respective deployment costs. In June 2013 reports by the local media suggested that the three operators had chosen Ericsson for the rollout and intended to offer 2G coverage (GSM/GPRS/EDGE in the 1800MHz band) and 3G coverage (UMTS/HSDPA/ HSPA+ in the 2100MHz band).