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Successful Trial Sees TFL Prep 4G Mobile to Cover London Tube from 2019

Tuesday, November 28th, 2017 (11:12 am) - Score 975
london underground tube

Transport for London has reported that their recent (summer) trial of a 4G Mobile network distribution technology, which ran in Tube tunnels on the Waterloo and City Line, was a success. Tfl are now tendering for a service provider that can deploy it across their entire Tube network from 2019.

Apparently all four of the major Mobile Network Operators (Vodafone, O2, Three UK and EE) participated in the design of the trial, with Vodafone and O2 carrying out testing within the tunnels, which took place outside customer hours. The trial also tested making “data calls” from one station to another without dropping mobile reception.

In addition, Tfl were able to “practice” laying new fibre optic cables within stations and tunnels, which is said to be “crucial for other elements of TfL’s wider digital connectivity strategy.” However all of the active test equipment from the trial has now been removed from the stations and tunnels, pending the outcome of Tfl’s tender.

Graeme Craig, Director of Commercial Development at TfL, said:

“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. This is great news for our customers and will also help us generate vital commercial income to reinvest in modernising and improving transport in London.”

Tfl has already been busy engaging with potential suppliers for the new contract and they intend to issue a Standard Selection Questionnaire during early next year, with the goal being of selecting a service partner by summer 2018. The first stations could then be connected from 2019.

We should point out that public WiFi hotspots have already been deployed across more than 260 Tube stations and 79 London Overground stations, mostly via Virgin Media, although bringing mobile (4G) coverage to the tube network itself would be a much more significant development.

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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