Optimal network performance for the Gotthard Arena

Benefits for the client
• No network bottlenecks due to reduced load on the existing mobile network
• Faster mobile network with more stable connections
• Better engagement with the hockey club as fans can share their experiences over a high-capacity network



Mobile radio communications infrastructure

The first Swiss ice rink with the latest mobile phone technology

Project background
The 50-million euro project, which was designed by the world-famous architect and self-confessed Ambrì Piotta fan Mario Botta, represents a milestone not only for Ambrì Piotta ice hockey club, but for the entire Gotthard region. The multifunctional three-tiered stadium was built on the Ambrì airfield between 2018 and 2021. Today, it holds a total of 6775 spectators, who can enjoy a wide range of culinary delights in eleven lounges, four restaurants, eight bars and 23 Dine & View seats.

Project requirements & goals
The Valascia Ice Rink, built in 1959, was the longest-serving ice hockey stadium of a top club in Switzerland. It just didn’t live up to the expectations of today’s operators, players and spectators. In addition to providing outstanding functionality and being highly user-friendly, the new building was also to offer network coverage in keeping with the latest standards.

“The focus of the antenna construction was a high-capacity mobile communications infrastructure, thanks to which, network bottlenecks are a thing of the past,” highlights Luca Speziali from Swisscom, referring to the most important requirements of the project.

As a result, the contract called for the integration of the latest technologies with the development of a high-capacity mobile communications infrastructure in order to provide a faster mobile communications network with stable connections. There will be no network bottlenecks and fans will develop an even stronger bond with the club, as they will be able to share their experiences with their community even better – live, via social media or as video uploads using any available broadcast technology. Another challenge was that the antenna installations had to be placed as discreetly as possible in order to blend in with the design of the building.

Construction & project result
Since numerous tradespeople and construction companies were working at the same time during construction and were standing on each other’s toes, the site was hectic at times. Furthermore, deliveries of materials were delayed enormously due to the coronavirus pandemic, and replacement deliveries had to be flown in at short notice via air freight. Due to the considerable time pressure – Ambrì Piotta’s opening game of the season was scheduled just two weeks after the delivery of the materials – Axians assigned an additional team to the project. Thanks to the rapid reinforcement and the cooperation between the two teams, which had already proven its worth in other projects, all the hurdles that arose were overcome successfully and as planned.

“Axians was able to impress with its reliability and punctuality, even under time pressure,” Speziali summarises.

There was also an unusual and not exactly everyday challenge: each antenna has eight cable connectors with a cable length of 30 meters, which is a very heavy weight at a draw height of 15 meters. The new antennas were made operational in time for the opening. Now that the load on the existing mobile network around the stadium has been relieved, network bottlenecks are finally a thing of the past. Ambrì Piotta’s lucky fans benefit from stable connections and can now share their experiences even more easily with the online community via the powerful network.