Lichtenau / Baden, Germany, 22nd November 2017 – The European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) has officially adopted results from LS telcom’s study “Coexistence of GSM-R with other Communication Systems” commissioned by the European Union Agency for Railways. The LS telcom report examined the possibility of using the ER/R-GSM spectrum 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.


The results of this study are integrated in the ETSI System Reference document (SRDoc) TR 103 333 about GSM-R networks evolution. This document intends “to describe the spectrum requirements for a European system for operational railway communications between a terrestrial ground network and a train, based on 4G/5G technology, and operating in the band 873 - 880 MHz paired with 918 - 925 MHz, in coexistence with the already deployed GSM-R technology.”


Both LS telcom’s study and ETSI’s System Reference document are part of a joint effort by the Union Internationale des Chemins de Fer (UIC), the European Union Agency for Railways, the GSM-R industry and other railway stakeholders across Europe in close cooperation with ETSI to define and specify the next generation solution “Future Railway Mobile Communications System” (FRMCS), including future spectrum requirements.


A key challenge is that spectrum is needed for both the FRMCS and GSM-R during the migration phase. An update of the EU legal framework is necessary to make available additional harmonized spectrum in order to guarantee European railway interoperability.