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Railway TETRA Network, China

Key Data

Marconi introduced TETRA (TErrestrial Trunked RAdio) equipment into China in 2001, following its selection as design, installation and support provider for a trial network in Sichuan province in southern China.

The successful trial began in November 2000, and was the result of an agreement between Marconi Communications China Ltd (MCCL), the Chinese Digital Standard Working Group (CDSTWG) and SUET, the operator of a digital Public Access Mobile Radio (PAMR) network in Sichuan. The trial approved a new national standard for digital trunking systems at the 800MHz frequency.


Due for completion in 2003, the QinShen Railway Project links Qinhangdao and Shenyang in the Liaoning Province. It will be a high-speed electric passenger railway covering 422km. The railway has identified a need for broadband mobile communications in case of an emergency, and Marconi's TDMA TETRA system has been chosen for this private network.

In February 2002, the Chinese Ministry of Information awarded Marconi the contract for their 800MHz terminals and base stations. The interoperable technology can make simultaneous data and voice communications, which are necessary for public transport. TETRA will link the mobile users on board with the fixed line in the emergency control centre.

The Marconi TETRA equipment, comprising a switch, three base stations and several terminals plus ancillary equipment, has already been installed in the province's capital Cheng Du and tested by the CDSTWG for a month as part of continuing procedures designed to define a new national standard. SUET was then awarded a temporary licence to import and operate a TETRA system.


TETRA (TErrestrial Trunked RAdio) is a TDMA (Time Division Multiple Access)-based standard developed by ETSI (European Telecommunications Standards Institute) for a new generation of digital trunked (backbone) radio products. It is ideal for any group of users needing high-performance wireless communications, including the emergency services, public utilities, public services and utility and engineering-based companies.

TETRA combines the features of digital cellular, mobile radio, wireless data and paging with national coverage, high voice quality, fast call set-up and support for private workgroups of users. It delivers secure, high-quality communications, whatever the signal conditions and in noisy environments, with easy-to-use, two-way conversation including full telephone network interconnection, internet access and even image transmission.

Today, most public safety organisations, such as ambulance services, run their own (analogue) systems known as PMR (Private Mobile Radio); many other users rely on systems from PAMR network operators. TETRA works in both types of network, supporting both private and public users.

TETRA's digital radio technology is useful for any group of users needing high-performance wireless communications.


Marconi is a supplier of standards-based TETRA networks and is currently implementing TETRA-based communications systems for a variety of transport and utility applications in Croatia, Singapore and Russia, plus another 800MHz TETRA network implementation in Saudi Arabia.