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Transport for London to Start 4G Mobile Trial on Jubilee Line

Tuesday, March 17th, 2020 (10:30 am) - Score 2,594
london_tube_train_network_rail_tfl_uk

As expected Transport for London (TfL) has today announced that their planned trial with O2, Vodafone, Three UK and EE (BT) of a new 4G mobile (mobile broadband) network along the Jubilee Line (platforms and tube trains in tunnels) – between Canning Town and Westminster stations – will go live tomorrow.

Initially this trial only covers the eastern section of the Jubilee line, although the plan is for this to cover all platforms and tunnels on the whole of the line by the end of 2020. The TfL project was first officially announced in July 2019 (here) and ultimately aims to make 4G services available across the whole of their London Underground (tube trains) network by the “mid-2020s” (c.2025).

NOTE: Procurement for a concessionaire agreement to facilitate 4G across the whole of the underground network could be ready by Summer 2020.

In theory it will allow passengers to make phone calls, check for the latest travel information, catch up on social media, watch a video and read their emails or the latest news “uninterrupted” during their journeys. Ticket halls and corridors within stations are also covered by the pilot, except for London Bridge and Waterloo stations where the signal will just be available on the Jubilee line platforms.

We should point out that 260 London underground stations are already separately covered with WiFi as a result of Virgin Media’s deployment some years ago, which can today also be harnessed by customers of all the major mobile operators. Meanwhile 79 London Overground stations are served by The Cloud (Sky). A WiFi Pass exists for those who aren’t existing members of those networks (here).

Derek McManus, COO of O2, said:

“We’re the UK’s number 1 network and we’re excited to be taking our award winning 4G connectivity underground into London’s tube network. Not only will the project bring much needed service to commuters across London – it will also mean thousands of fans travelling to The O2 for the best live entertainment events in the UK will now be able to share their experiences with friends and family, before and after a show.

We’re proud to be working with TfL and other mobile network operators to bring connectivity to where our customers need it most and we are excited to see the future potential of this project as it expands across the tube network.”

Naturally that brief reference to “fans travelling to The O2” above is perhaps somewhat of a moot point in the current climate.

UPDATE 2:44pm

Some additional comments have come in.

Marc Allera, CEO of BT’s Consumer Division, said:

“This is a big step for both connectivity, and for London. We’re looking forward to seeing how our customers use 4G on the Underground – it’s a big step forward for keeping entertained, and keeping in touch. We know how valuable that is, and this switch on aims to pave the way for a wider rollout across the Underground.”

David Dyson, CEO of Three UK, said:

“We want to help people stay connected and make the most of their daily commute, enjoying their favourite shows, talking to friends or just getting a head start on the working day. Every year, the average London commuter spends two weeks on the tube travelling to and from work, so there’s a huge opportunity for us to help people reclaim that valuable time.”

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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.
Leave a Comment
4 Responses
  1. Avatar Herve Shango says:

    Finally

  2. Avatar Michael V says:

    I presume this is VoLTE? So only VoLTE phones can make use of the network.

  3. Avatar Harmz says:

    The second half of this video is quite good for showing how they’re deploying it:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EPjNDA7HWYk

    It’s worth watching.

    (the first half is pretty much just “it works!”)

  4. Avatar Alex says:

    It’s already live. Just used it between Canary Wharf and Canada Water

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