ETSI organised, with the support of the European Commission (EC), the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), the Critical Communications Association (TCCA) and the Union Internationale des Chemins de fer (UIC), the 3rd FRMCS (Future Railway Mobile Communication System) Plugtests event which was hosted by UIC in Paris, FR from 3 to 7 July 2023. 

Important: ETSI monitors the situation of the Coronavirus pandemic and will ensure that all necessary measures are taken in accordance with the instructions of the local government authorities. We recommend flexible booking of hotel / flights accordingly.

GSM-R is the current standard for the railway telecommunication services developed and maintained by ETSI TC RT. With the increased need for more throughout, higher capacity and flexible deployment options, FRMCS is being developed based on 3GPP Mission Critical Services.

What were the objectives and scope of the 3rd FRMCS Plugtests event?

Interoperability and Mission Critical services harmonisation are critical challenges for the successful deployment and operation of Mobile Broadband based communication Systems for various sectors, including Railways.

The concept of Mission Critical Services such as “Mission Critical Push To Talk" (MCPTT), “Mission Critical Data" (MCData) and “Mission Critical Video" (MCVideo) started with 3GPP Release-13 and is ongoing in current Releases. The Future Railway Mobile Communication System (FRMCS) is based on these Mission Critical Features.

The goal of the FRMCS Plugtests event was to validate the interoperability of a variety of implementations using different test scenarios based on the 3GPP Mission Critical Services framework with focus on the rail specific features. The FRMCS Plugtests event tested railways-oriented capabilities defined in 3GPP. This FRMCS Plugtests event was part of the MCX Plugtests programme.

The tests were based on 3GPP, ETSI and IETF standards, and were designed for the following equipment:

  • FRMCS capable MCX Application Servers (MCPTT, MCDATA, MCVIDEO)
  • FRMCS capable MCX Clients (MCPTT, MCDATA, MCVIDEO)
  • UEs and Cab Radios
  • eMBMS Components
  • IMS / SIP Cores
  • Consoles and Control Rooms
  • Test Equipments
  • RAM Equipment (5G)
  • Packet cores (5G)

The purpose and scope of the FRMCS Plugtests event were to test independently and jointly all components of the Mobile communication System for Railways. Railway-related test cases are available in ETSI TS 103 564. Additional railway-oriented test cases were also be developed for this Plugtests.

Who could participate?

  • Vendors which develop and produce above mentioned equipment.
  • All vendors must actively participate in the testing railway features.
  • Products have to support Rail features and test cases.
  • Observers, which can be government organisations, mobile network operators, railways operators, users, agencies or regulators. Observers are welcome to help define the scope (i.e.functionality to be tested) for this event and to evaluate the tests statistics in the TRT (Test Reporting Tool). 
  • New Vendors and Observers have to sign the Rules of Engagement and NDA of the MCX Plugtests Programme to participate. 

What were the advantages of attending the FRMCS Plugtests event?

  • To assess the level of interoperability of your implementations
  • To validate your understanding of the standards
  • To test with (many) other real implementations and demonstrate end-to-end interoperability
  • To debug your implementation: early bug fixing, saving time and costs
  • To promote the technology and the ecosystem

The Plugtests observer program

The focus of the observer program was to examine and discuss the progress of deployment and the challenges of FRMCS. The observer program was held onsite and provided a platform to the various stake holders in railways to discuss the progress of FRMCS. 

The observer program also included interoperability demos from interested vendors, which could show how their solutions meet the FRMCS Plugtests test cases and observer scenario use cases.

PLUGTESTS events are organized by ETSI and are co-funded by the European Union and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA).


16, rue Jean Rey

75015 Paris



All participants had to register to this event even if they participated in previous events part of the MCX Plugtests Programme.

All participants were expected to register individually. Each first person from an organisation to register for the event is de facto the official contact for technical and logistics matters.

After registration, all participants joining the FRMCS Plugtests were invited to the preparation conference calls and were subscribed to the Plugtests mailing list dedicated to the FRMCS Plugtests event. 

The registration deadline was 28 April 2023. Participating companies were invited to contact the ETSI Plugtests team at in order to add colleagues within ther registered teams after that date.

The event was free of charge.


By registering for the FRMCS Plugtests event, new participating organisations joined the MCX Plugtests Programme and were asked to sign the Rules of Engagement (RoE) and Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) which they received upon registration.

These RoE and NDA cover the series of remote and face-to-face Plugtests events which are held as part of the MCX Plugtests Programme.

Companies which previously signed the RoE and NDA of the MCX Plugtests Programme when registering to one of the past MCX Plugtests events did not need to sign the RoE and NDA again. Only new organisations joining the Programme received the RoE and NDA for signature.

Upon signature of the RoE and NDA sent to the official contact, the new participants received their credentials for the FRMCS Plugtests WIKI. Participants who joined the MCX Plugtests Programme and had already signed the RoE and NDA kept their credentials that they could reuse for the FRMCS Plugtests WIKI.

Participants were not allowed to participate in the event, if the RoE and NDA of the Programme had not been signed by a representative of their company.

The deadline to return the signed RoE and NDAs to ETSI was 5 May 2023.

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Join us and find out about the 3rd FRMCS Plugtests Results in a dedicated open conference call scheduled on Tuesday, 12th September, 2023 from 3:00 – 4:00 PM (CEST):

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