China's Ministry of Railways has selected Nortel (NT) to provide a digital wireless communications network for the world's highest altitude rail service, the Qinghai-Tibet Railway.

GSM-R is one of the industry's most complete and cost-effective solution for wireless railway communications and is currently being implemented in 15 countries worldwide. Offering a secure platform, GSM-R provides voice and data communications between the operational staff of a railway organization, including drivers, dispatchers, shunting team members, train engineers and station controllers.

This will be the first commercial use of GSM for Railways (GSM-R) technology in China, following a pioneering, year-long trial of Nortel's technology over more than 186 kilometers of track built on perennially frozen land at altitudes up to 4,780 meters above sea level.

The 1,142-kilometer Qinghai-Tibet Railway will be the first in China supported solely by GSM-R communications with no traditional analog system available for back-up. It will also be the first railway in China to use GSM-R to transmit safety data for train control and the first to adopt double coverage solutions to enhance system safety, reliability and availability. In addition, it will be the first GSM-R infrastructure in China to incorporate GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) for data applications.

In 2004, Nortel began the GSM-R digital wireless communications network trial for the Ministry of Railways creating the first test track in Asia supported solely by GSM-R. During the trial, Nortel successfully demonstrated the ability to develop system test plans, conduct GSM-R integration, and perform network optimization and troubleshooting adapted to the challenging environmental conditions along the Qinghai-Tibet Railway.

"Nortel has delivered the world's leading railway communications technology to China," said Robert Mao, president and chief executive officer, Greater China, Nortel. "Our noteworthy completion of a demanding field trial under challenging conditions serves as testament to Nortel's strong commitment to customers and to the quality and contribution of Nortel's research and development team in China. To the delight of the Ministry of Railways, the Quality of Service (QoS) of our GSM-R technology exceeded ETCS (European Train Control System) Level 2 specifications and requirements. As a landmark project for China to develop its western region, Nortel is pleased to provide the communications system that will help ignite and power the region's economic growth."

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