Published on: 29th Dec 2014
GSM R has been adopted in Europe for more than 10 years to provide voice and data communications for railway and acts as a radio bearer for train control messages.
Mandated by the European Commission and supported by the dynamic railway industry in the region, the GSM-R system has established a significant market in Europe. Over the past few years the market extended to regions outside Europe including Asia-Pacific, Middle East, and Africa. Led by Nokia, Kapsch CarrierCom, and Huawei, GSM-R track coverage is growing to 190,000 km by 2020.
Despite being the latest technology that caters to railways needs, GSM-R itself is based on 2G GSM which is now a declining technology. However, in the absence of strong alternatives, GSM-R continues to be the technology of choice for many new railway projects. System evolution and the development of the next-generation networks go hand in hand creating a transition period over the 2020’s. “GSM-R structure is migrating to an IP-based transmission network to improve performance, and lower OPEX, and is a step towards the next generation network,” comments Ahmed Ali, research analyst at ABI Research.
LTE is emerging as a strong candidate to succeed GSM-R considering the growing adoption in the commercial sector and the support from the majority of equipment manufacturers. Embracing LTE-based networks introduces new areas of growth and new market players to the industry. “One interesting scenario is the collaboration between public network operators and railway operators to create a converged network and reduce cost. With LTE, providers like Alcatel-Lucent and Ericsson can further improve the railway solution market and drive competition,” continues Ali.