China's Ministry of Railways and Nortel (NT) have signed a framework agreement for Nortel to provide GSM Railway (GSM-R) switching centers to enable digital mobile signaling and operational communications along passenger lines spanning 20 of China's 31 provinces.

The Nortel GSM-R switching centers will cover nearly half of the Ministry of Railways' national railway footprint, serving both conventional railway lines as well as planned high-speed lines. Seven switching centers will be deployed at key locations nationwide, supplementing two switching centers previously deployed in 2005.

Secure and reliable digital mobile voice and data communications for train drivers, signaling personnel and other operational staff rank high on Ministry of Railways' agenda for the evolution and modernization of China's railway network.

Nortel will be providing Ministry of Railways with its mobile switching center solution – a flexible circuit and packet switching platform that delivers leading reliability complemented by the features and services required to manage and grow a core network.

Nortel's full, end-to-end GSM-R solution also includes a railway-customized GSM-R base transceiver station for better trackside coverage under severe environmental conditions, and is scalable to support GPRS and high-speed data and voice communications.

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