(Antarctica, 6 February 2024) – In a groundbreaking venture, Telenor announces the opening of the world’s southernmost commercial base station in Antarctica, setting a new benchmark for connectivity in the harshest of environments. The Norwegian Polar Institute’s research station in Antarctica, Troll, now has extended reach, connecting a vast area to the outside world with mobile connectivity.
The base station was put into operation in February. What makes this base station unique, aside from being the southernmost in the world, is that it’s operated from the world’s northernmost at Ny Ålesund.
Experience with operations in polar regions
Head of Telenor Svalbard, Christian Skottun, emphasizes that a strong collaboration with the Norwegian Polar Institute is the foundation for establishing mobile coverage in Antarctica.
“There has been a fruitful dialogue with the Norwegian Polar Institute regarding the possibilities offered by a base station in Antarctica. Telenor, with its presence in Svalbard, has extensive experience in building and operating mobile networks in Arctic regions. 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. Additionally, mobile coverage opens up new possibilities for research and environmental monitoring in the Antarctic oceanic area.”
The primary motivation behind this audacious project is to provide essential mobile coverage to the Norwegian Polar Institute’s research station, Troll, located in Antarctica. Troll serves as a hub for scientific exploration and environmental research, making reliable communication crucial for the success of ongoing projects and the safety of researchers working in the region.
This base station also provides a new dimension of safety as we now are able to offer mobile coverage in the area where the polar research station is located
“Mobile coverage is a step forward for technological development at Troll. In addition, it provides new opportunities for research and monitoring in Queen Maud Land,” says the Director of the Polar Institute, Camilla Brekke.
Close collaboration with satellite operator
In addition to close collaboration with the Norwegian Polar Institute, Telenor Svalbard also collaborates with Kongsberg Satellite Services (KSAT), which is responsible for the communication service from the Troll station. KSAT owns and operates TrollSat, one of the world’s most important ground stations for collecting data from climate and environmental monitoring satellites, co-located with the research station at Troll. KSAT is responsible for transmitting satellite-based information from Troll to users worldwide.
“Full mobile coverage at Troll also helps our users and simplifies communication with the outside world. We are therefore pleased that the satellite link from Troll also can be used for mobile phone traffic,” says Rolf Skatteboe, CEO of KSAT.
New opportunities in research
Birgitte Engebretsen, CEO of Telenor Norway, is proud and delighted that Telenor has contributed to establishing mobile connectivity between the poles.
“Our societal mission includes providing technology that makes research work easier. We see that the emergence of our new technological solutions opens up new possibilities for research,” says Engebretsen.
Christian Skottun, Head of Telenor Svalbard, phone +47 951 42 699, email: [email protected]
David Fidjeland, Director Media Relations, phone: +47 934 67 224, email: [email protected]