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TRAI recommends allocation of 700MHz for NCRTC for rail corridors

4 Jan 2023

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has recommended that 5MHz of spectrum in the 700MHz band be allocated to the National Capital Region Transport Corporation (NCRTC) for the operation of mission-critical safety applications related to signalling and train control operations, the Economic Times writes. The airwaves would be used to cover the company’s under-construction regional rapid trans system (RRTS) corridors, a series of semi-high speed, high capacity rail routes connecting regional nodes. TRAI’s recommendation would see NCRTC – a joint venture of the government of India and the states of Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi – issued a ten-year licence for the airwaves via the administrative route, at a price based on 50% of the auction-determined price based on the August 2022 tender. The watchdog also suggested that the price could be further modified to reflect the area of the corridor relative to the total area of the licensing areas covered by the RRTS project.

The TRAI also recommended that a separate permit category be established for captive non-public networks for railways (CNPN-R) and that 700MHz frequencies be assigned to other geographically separated rail networks that are not likely to cause interference. Finally, the TRAI recommended that the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) oversee a field trial to assess the feasibility of assigning 700MHz airwaves to telcos on a non-interference basis.

In a related development, meanwhile, the DoT has reportedly cast doubt on the potential allocation of mid-band (3300MHz-3700MHz) spectrum for CNPNs, on the basis that doing so would result in a potential loss to state coffers. An unnamed official was quoted as saying: ‘We are still in the process to finalise spectrum for private networks but reserving mid-band airwaves is not likely to happen. We will explore some more bands, apart from what has been proposed by the regulator.’

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