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TRAI Says Railways Should Get Spectrum Only For Captive Use, Not Commercial WiFi

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has recommended allotting spectrum to Indian Railways only for captive use. The regulator has advised the department of telecommunications (DoT) not to give the national transporter any frequency for it to offer commercial WiFi services.

In its recommendations issued on Friday, TRAI said as the railways would use the assigned spectrum along its tracks and stations only, DoT could explore the possibility of assigning the same spectrum in other areas for area-specific limited use to other entities for captive use. However, it should be ensured that there is no interference to the railways’ network from such use, Trai said.

While the DoT adopts the auction route to give spectrum to mobile services companies for commercial use, it allots the same to government agencies like the railways, Indian Space Research Organization, and the defence services for captive use for a certain licence fee and royalty charges.

Currently, 35 Mhz of spectrum is available for use by all. Of this, Trai has said railways could be given 5 Mhz and the rest put to auction in the exercise expected to be conducted by March. Spectrum in 700 Mhz band is useful for 5G services.

Efficient and timely utilization of spectrum be ensured through a process of periodical monitoring. Further, the 1.6 MHz spectrum already assigned to railways in 900 MHz band may be taken back from on migration to LTE-based network, Trai has suggested to DoT.―Livemint

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