London Underground Will Offer Full 4G Coverage by Next Year

REUTERS  Dylan Martinez  File

REUTERS Dylan Martinez File

The trial will run from Westminster to Canning Town and should allow for mobile phone data use through tunnels and on platforms in that part of the network.

London Bridge and Waterloo stations won't be included in the trial section, but per TfL, they'll be added later in 2020 subject to final approvals.

Although London is not the first station to get internet connectivity in its underground transport - the NY subway has had wi-fi and mobile internet since 2017 - The Guardian notes that it is particularly hard to install in London.

TfL's grand plan is to bring 4G connectivity to the entire Underground network, building on the free WiFi now offered at 260 of the stations, but it's likely going to take years to complete. "TfL has also begun discussions with mobile network operators to ensure they can access the infrastructure for the pilot so their customers can benefit when the technology goes live".

The London Underground sometimes feels like the land that mobile signal forgot.

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Four potential concessionaires - Axia SC Consortium, BAI Communications, Cellnex UK Ltd and Wireless Infrastructure Group - have already been shortlisted and the tender process will move on to its next stage over the Summer.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: "This is a really important step for the millions of people who use the Tube each year".

According to Transport for London (TfL), the eastern half of the city's Jubilee line will get "full mobile connectivity within station platforms and tunnels for the first time from March 2020".

Introducing 4G and, in the future, 5G will help Londoners and visitors keep in touch and get the latest travel information while on the go.

Per TfL, the whole London Underground network should have mobile connectivity "by the mid-2020s". Once fully delivered, more than 2,000 kilometres of cabling are expected to have been installed within tunnels and stations, all of which will need to be fitted outside of operational hours (space is very limited and this tends to hinder such work).

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