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ECRL to be first railway in Southeast Asia to have 4G link on trains

Publish date: Thu, 30 Nov 2023, 06:44 PM

KUALA LUMPUR: The East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) will implement the LTE-Railway (LTE-R) network on its train, making it the first railway in Southeast Asia to have the connectivity.

Malaysian Rail Link Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Datuk Seri Darwis Abdul Razak said most railways adopt the global system for mobile communication-railway (GSM-R) network, which has lower speed than LTE-R.

The LTE-R also has a frequency band of 1900 megahertz.

"The ECRL will be the first in Southeast Asia to use the communication network, which is similar to 4G connectivity.

"The communication system for the train service is important for us when it comes to safety because with LTE-R and 5G we can see images, unlike GSM-R," he told reporters at a meeting held by Concorde Club.

Darwis said concerns were also raised on the connectivity for passengers along the ECRL line.

"We are working closely with network providers to put up their network along the alignment so we will have full connectivity throughout the journey," he said.

He added with the LTE-R infrastructure, it would also facilitate the shift towards 5G implementation on the railway.

"Back in 2017, the previous specification called for the usage of GSM-R but after several negotiations we decided to look into LTE because by the time the ECRL is complete in 2026, GSM-R would be obsolete.

"It would also be cheaper for us to improve connectivity to 5G in the future because we would already have the infrastructure," he said.

On the pricing, Darwis said the rate would be "competitive" and most likely similar to electric train service (ETS) rates.

"It would be between 17 sen and 20 sen (per kilometre), depending on the service," he said.

On the latest update for the ECRL, he added the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah will launch the first track laying event at Kuantan Port City on Dec 11.

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