The European Union Agency for Railways has recently published a report by LS telcom on the possibility of using the ER/R-GSM spectrum (frequency bands “876-880 / 921-925 MHz” and “873-876 / 918-921 MHz”) by other radio communication systems for railways in coexistence with the existing GSM-R system operated in that frequency band. The objective of the study was to find out whether new spectrum is required for a successor system or whether band sharing during migration from GSM-R to its successor would be feasible.
LS telcom reviewed several technologies, which met the rail industry’s needs, and identified LTE / LTE Advanced as the only feasible technology currently available. The study further showed that the implementation of an LTE system within the R-GSM band in co-existence with the current radio system is unlikely to be feasible unless a number of mitigating measures are taken.
LS telcom carried out feasibility and compatibility analysis, which were complemented by capacity and coverage simulations and by laboratory measurements made by the Dresden University of Technology.
The study concluded that the extent and necessity of the mitigation methods should be tested through field trials. Furthermore, an evaluation of the potential degradation of the quality and capacity of the existing GSM-R system should be conducted to identify whether the potential degradations caused by the implementation of an LTE carrier are acceptable. Future demand for data for rail services should also be examined to determine whether the resulting capacity is sufficient.