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O2 UK to Boost Mobile Cover on London North Eastern Railway

Thursday, June 4th, 2020 (10:05 am) - Score 1,202

O2 has signed a new partnership deal with London North Eastern Railway (LNER), which aims to boost 4G and 5G based network coverage along a 45-mile stretch of the East Coast route – between Newcastle in North East England and Edinburgh in Scotland. The upgrade will also improve coverage for communities along the route.

As part of the deal planning permission has already been secured for the first of up to 12 new mobile masts in Northumberland and the final phase of the project will then see ultrafast 5G based mobile broadband connectivity become available within Newcastle Central Station by summer 2021.

LNER’s new Azuma trains already claim to offer the “best WiFi yet on the route,” so this latest development will offer a further performance boost for those relying on voice and data usage when travelling at speeds of over 100mph.

The location of the proposed new masts follows almost a year of extensive testing and planning to identify the optimum locations to provide 4G coverage and be 5G ready.

Brendan O’Reilly, CTO of O2, said:

“This is an important project for us as we seek to boost network coverage and capacity around the country. We’ve always looked to prioritise areas our customers need it the most, and upgrading busy transport hubs such as Newcastle Station will provide millions of customers with faster, more reliable network services.”

David Horne, MD of LNER, said:

“We know how vital our connections are between the great towns and cities of the LNER route. We also know how vital mobile connectivity is for our customers so we’re proud to be radically improving this for those who travel on our trains and also work and live along our route.”

LNER and O2 have worked with specialist rail and telecoms infrastructure provider Railsite Telecom to identify the locations to be upgraded and build the new masts (they did most of the work on the planning permissions).

Leave a Comment
7 Responses
  1. Avatar Matthew

    Don’t mean this in a bad way but shouldn’t anything to do with increasing railway coverage really be with all the networks and not just one ?

    Specially since this is actually a government run franchise ?

  2. Avatar Guy Cashmore

    O2 were supposed to be improving coverage in my community, 4 years ago they obtained planning permission for a new mast and even got the backhaul fibre installed to the site, then they abandoned us, its never been built.

  3. Avatar Joe W

    Looking at the planning applications on the Northumberland council website, it looks like these sites will be used by all four operators rather than just O2.

  4. Avatar Bored Panda

    I used to take this route, back in the day, when people went to the office and all.
    The signal on the move is a joke. The wifi on the train is even more of a joke. I mean it’s almost cruel to offer it … enjoy our free wifi … at 0.001kb/sec along with 200 other people im sure you’ll get tons of work done on your commute.

    If I could work on my train commute then I could leave the office an hour earlier, and see my family earlier and solve a ton of personal logistics problems. But nah, not possible. I get drop outs on the phone, wifi on the train never works.

    and then someone says oh it’s the technology.

    then you go to Sweden, and see that argument is BS as there’s signal on the damn underground, and if you take arlanda express you get over 100mbit WiFi on the train with zero dropouts.

    It can be done. UK just doesn’t want to invest in it. I’m sure by 2050 we might have 10mbit on trains.

    • Avatar CarlT

      I’ve taken this route many times and while it’s not exactly amazing I don’t recognise this description of it.

      I was able to work on the okay as long as I didn’t need to do anything with file transfers above a smaller size. In 2013 I worked from train for 4 hours a week.

    • Avatar ChrisD

      I live close to this route in South East Scotland and used LNER regularly before lockdown, to and from London. I also found the connectivity to be very useable for work. Some days were better than others but for email and web browsing it was fine. I would connect my VPN in Berwick and it would still be connected when I reached London most times.

    • Avatar Bored Panda

      Well lovely for you two boys, but most people have a problem with it. A google shows a ton of problems with their WiFi.

      I’m not sure what magical train you’re all travelling on but I took this route twice a day and I was never able to properly work, and as for VPN I don’t have enough fingers to count how often it got disconnected.

      I wish I managed to get your magic trains with awesome WiFi.

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