Tube passengers to get 4G reception across entire network by 2024
Tube passengers will be able to make calls, browse websites and stream videos across the entire network by 2024 as London Underground gets 4G mobile reception
- Transport for London is preparing more tube stations for 4G and 5G networks
- Phone r eception was first made available on Jubilee line in March last year
- London Mayor Sadiq Khan wants every station to be connected by 2024
- Comes as traffic on underground has struggle to rise above 50% of usual levels with the end to Covid lockdown curbs
Super-fast 4G reception will be available to passengers across the entire London Underground by the end of 2024, it has been announced.
Transport for London (TfL) is preparing to start work on some of the capital’s busiest stations – including Oxford Circus, Tottenham Court Road, and Bank – which will be among the first fully connected stations by the end of next year.
The technology, which includes fibre cables laid down in the tunnels, will be future-proofed to enable later upgrades to 5G.
The timeable was announced after TfL awarded a 20-year concession to BAI Communications (BAI), a global provider of 4G and 5G connected infrastructure, to counter so-called not-spots in the network.
Super-fast 4G reception will be available to passengers across the entire London Underground by the end of 2024, it has been announced
Mayor Sadiq Khan had promised to deliver 4G throughout the Tube network if he was re-elected to lead the city last month.
Full connectivity is set to be in place after the end of his second term.
Permanent phone reception was made available in tunnels and on platforms on the eastern half of the Jubilee line for the first time last year.
But the new technology was left mostly unused when it was launched on March 17, six days before Britain went into lockdown and train passenger numbers plunged.
Permanent phone reception was made available in tunnels and on platforms on the eastern half of the Jubilee line for the first time last year
Before this mobile coverage on the Tube had only previously been available in a short trial on the Waterloo and City line during summer 2017.
Free Virgin wifi already exists in Tube and London Overground stations on platforms and other above-ground areas.
Mr Khan added: ‘It’s already up and running on the eastern half of the Jubilee line and I’m delighted to announced today that I am fulfilling that commitment and full internet access will be available across the Tube, with key central London stations such as Oxford Circus and Euston set to benefit before the end of next year.’
Camden Town and Euston are the other stations which will be among the first tranche to be connected.
Billy D’Arcy, CEO of BAI Communications UK, said: ‘Our long-term partnership with TfL will completely transform the passenger experience, as well as helping to boost London’s economy and providing social benefits for years to come.
Mayor Sadiq Khan had promised to deliver 4G throughout the Tube network if he was re-elected to lead the city last month
‘By building the most advanced network of its kind in the world here, we are helping London leapfrog other major cities in terms of connectivity and ensure that the capital remains the most attractive place for investment.
‘Across the length of this concession, we fully anticipate investing in excess of £1 billion across the Connected London programme.’
Shashi Verma, chief technology officer at TfL, said: ‘London Underground was born in the 19th century, and this concession to deliver mobile coverage to the whole Tube network ensures it continues to adapt for customers in the 21st century.
‘Providing mobile connectivity to customers within the tunnels and on platforms across London will help them stay connected more easily, and will both provide a long-term revenue stream for TfL and support economic growth across the city.’
TfL recently agreed a third bailout to keep services running amid the collapse in demand for travel during the pandemic, with the latest package said to be worth £1.08billion and running until December 11.
Passenger figures on the Tube were last week just above 40 per cent of pre-pandemic levels, while bus passengers were slightly above 60 per cent.
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