Cabinet Approves 5MHz 4G Spectrum For Rail Operations, Investment Estimated Over Rs 25,000 Crore

Indian Railways said that the estimated investment for the project is more than Rs 25,000 crore

Bringing a strategic shift to Indian Railway operations, the central government today approved the allotment of 5 MHz spectrum in 700 MHz frequency band to the national transporter, with an aim to ensure safety and security services for passengers at stations and trains. According to a recent tweet shared by Railway Ministry Piyush Goyal, the estimated investment of the total project is more than Rs 25,000 crore. The 4MHz 4G spectrum network will also ensure seamless communication with the loco pilots and guards of the railway network. 

According to a statement released by the Ministry of Railways on Wednesday, June 9, the authorities intend to provide LTE or long-term evolution, based mobile train radio communication on its route, with the allotment of the 5MHz 4G spectrum system. The project will be completed in the next five years, according to the railway ministry.

How will the 4MHz 4G spectrum help the Indian Railways network?

  • The system will provide secure voice, video as well as data communication services for operational, safety, and security applications of the national transporter’s network.
  • The long-term evolution system will be used for modern signalling and ensuring train protection while maintaining constant communication between loco pilots and guards.
  •  The system will also allow the Internet of Things (IoT) based remote asset monitoring especially of railway coaches, wagons, locos, and live video feed of CCTV cameras in the coaches to ensure efficient and faster train operations.
  • It will help in increasing the line capacity to accommodate more trains using the existing infrastructure. It will also reduce transportation cost and provide higher efficiency across the network.

According to the statement, the spectrum charges may be levied based on the formula basis as prescribed by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) for the royalty charges and license fee for the captive use as recommended by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India.

Additionally, Indian Railways also approved TCAS or train collision avoidance system, an indigenously developed automatic train protection system, which will help in avoiding train collisions, reducing accidents to strengthen passenger safety.

“This decision will contribute significantly to the modernization of railway communication infrastructure, improving the safety of travel and also the quality of signalling for operations. The recommendations of TRAI seem to have been accepted with the spectrum being allocated specifically for captive usage and not commercial use, with a royalty charge and license fee applicability payable to the DoT,” said Tony Verghese, Partner, J Sagar Associates.

The wi-fi enhancement capabilities for end customers will not be a focus for now, however, the implementation of safer and faster journeys, resulting in increased revenues,” he added.

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