Telenor deploys a mobile base station in Antarctica for Troll

Telenor deploys a mobile base station in Antarctica for Troll

Telenor announced on Tuesday that it has established what it says is the world's southernmost mobile base station in Antarctica, providing coverage for the Norwegian Polar Institute's Troll research station.

The base station, which went live earlier this month, is utilising a satellite backhaul link from Kongsberg Satellite Services (KSAT), which already provides satellite-based communication service to Troll. KSAT owns and operates TrollSat, a ground station for collecting data from climate and environmental monitoring satellites, which is co-located with the Troll research station.

Telenor said the base station is designed to handle Antarctica’s harsh environment – not just the sub-zero temperatures, but also wind speeds that can top 300 km/h, hurling stone and gravel at the tower.

Troll serves as a hub for scientific exploration and environmental research in Antarctica, which makes reliable communication crucial not only for the research, but also the safety of researchers, Telenor said.

Christian Skottun, head of Telenor Svalbard, added that Telenor established the base station at Troll by leveraging its experience with similar installations in Svalbard in the Arctic region.

“Mobile coverage is crucial for both Arctic poles. For research communities, the ability to utilize mobile IoT in gathering data from fieldwork is particularly attractive,” he said in a statement. “Additionally, mobile coverage opens up new possibilities for research and environmental monitoring in the Antarctic oceanic area.”

Norwegian Polar Institute director Camilla Brekke said mobile coverage at Troll “would provide new opportunities within research and surveillance of Dronning Maud Land”.

The Telenor base station is the first to cover Troll, but it’s not the first base station on the continent. Telefonica Moviles Argentina launched a 4G network at Marambio Base, an Argentine research facility, in 2017. In 2020, Russian operator MTS installed a GSM network at Russian expedition station Progress.

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