Transport for London (TfL) is preparing to introduce 4G mobile coverage on the London Underground, following a successful trial by four of Britain’s largest operators – EE, O2, Three and Vodafone – on the Waterloo & City line.
TfL used the experimental window to determine whether it’s possible to integrate 4G connectivity into the Tube network in such a way that a single signal can be maintained while travelling through tunnels between stations.
Now it knows it’s attainable, TfL is reportedly on the lookout for a provider to configure a full 4G network across the entire London Underground (yes, all 11 lines) in 2018, with a view to launching the service at the beginning of 2019.
“The success of this trial shows that we are on track to unlock one of the UK’s most high profile not-spots and deliver 4G mobile coverage throughout our tunnels and Tube stations,” said Graeme Craig, Director of Commercial Development at TfL.
TfL is still yet to reveal how it will pay for the 4G installations, but it’s hoping its carrier partner will cover the operating costs.
Currently, London Underground riders can only access limited internet connectivity in the form of Virgin Media Wi-Fi – but this is only available on platforms, so it’s not particularly practical.
TfL indicated it will begin the search for a network partner in early-2018, ahead of its planned 4G rollout on the Tube in 2019.
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