A momentous occasion unfolds as Telenor inaugurates the world’s southernmost base station in Antarctica, marking a historic milestone. Situated at the Norwegian research station Troll, this base station is not only the southernmost commercial one globally but is also operated from the northernmost station in Svalbard.
The Troll research station, a pivotal hub in international research collaborations, now boasts extensive coverage in its surrounding area. This development, which commenced operations in February, connects the region to the global network, offering unprecedented benefits to the international research community.
Operated by Telenor Svalbard, the base station is a unique achievement, emphasizing the company’s expertise in polar operations. Christian Skottun, Head of Telenor Svalbard, underscores the importance of collaboration with the Norwegian Polar Institute in establishing mobile coverage in Antarctica.
Skottun states, “There has been a positive dialogue with the Norwegian Polar Institute regarding the possibilities a base station in Antarctica presents. Leveraging Telenor’s experience in building and operating mobile networks in Arctic regions from Svalbard, mobile phone coverage proves vital for both Arctic polar regions, enabling efficient data collection and offering new avenues for research and environmental monitoring in Antarctica.”
The significance of mobile coverage extends beyond research, providing an added layer of security for other activities in polar regions. This development is a technological leap for the Troll research station, fostering new possibilities in research and environmental monitoring in Queen Maud Land, according to Camilla Brekke, the Director of the Norwegian Polar Institute.
Telenor Svalbard’s collaboration extends to Kongsberg Satellite Services (KSAT), responsible for communication services from the Troll station. KSAT’s TrollSat, a crucial ground station for data collection from climate and environmental monitoring satellites, works in tandem with the research station. The full mobile coverage at Troll simplifies communication with the outside world, enhancing user experience and providing additional support for research endeavors.
Birgitte Engebretsen, CEO of Telenor Norge, expresses pride in Telenor’s contribution to establishing a mobile connection between the Norwegian polar regions. She highlights the company’s societal mission to offer technology that facilitates research work, noting that the new technological solutions open up fresh opportunities for research in the polar regions.
The successful implementation of the project required meticulous planning due to the challenges presented by Antarctica’s extreme conditions. The harsh environment, characterized by wind speeds exceeding 300 km/h, flying stones and gravel, and extremely low temperatures during the Antarctic winter, necessitated local adaptations and skilled personnel attached to the research station for effective deployment and maintenance.