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4G Mobile Cover Extended to More of the UK London Underground

Tuesday, May 14th, 2024 (11:26 am) - Score 1,560
london underground tube

Mobile network operators can now deploy 4G and 5G (mobile broadband) connectivity across more stations and tube lines on the London Underground, which comes after the ongoing network roll-out was extended to include Paddington, Whitechapel, Canary Wharf and Woolwich on the Elizabeth line.

Just to recap. Boldyn Networks (formerly BAI), using kit from Nokia, currently holds a 20-year concession deal with Transport for London (TfL), which was signed in June 2021 (here) and allows them to build the new 4G infrastructure. This can then be made available via wholesale for Mobile Network Operators (MNO) to harness. The goal of this roll-out is to cover the entire London Underground by late 2024 (ticket halls, platforms and tunnels).

NOTE: O2 (VMO2), Three UK, EE and Vodafone have all signed deals to harness the infrastructure. The new network is classed as being 5G Ready.

Currently, around 31 out of 121 Tube stations with platforms that are underground, and therefore usually unable to get a mobile signal, as well as connecting tunnels, now have 4G mobile coverage. This is around 25% of stations which are underground, and when combined with Tube stations which are above ground, means that more than two thirds of all stations on the Tube network now have mobile coverage available.

Around 500 people are working overnight across the Tube network to install the new mobile equipment, with all works needed to be tidied away before the network opens for customers every morning. Once fully delivered, more than 2,000 kilometres of fibre optic cabling, as well as thousands of radios (base stations, small cells etc.), are expected to be installed within tunnels and stations – fitted outside of operational hours.

London Underground Stations with 4G Availability

Central line – Holland Park, Notting Hill Gate, Queensway, Lancaster Gate, Marble Arch, Oxford Circus (Central line only), Tottenham Court Road, Holborn (Central line only), Chancery Lane, St Pauls

Northern line – Belsize Park, Chalk Farm, Archway, Tufnell Park, Kentish Town (station closed from 26 June 2023 due to engineering works, but 4G will still be provided to platforms for passing trains), Camden Town, Mornington Crescent, Euston (Charing Cross Branch), Warren Street (Northern line only), Goodge Street, Tottenham Court Road

Elizabeth line – Paddington, Bond Street, Tottenham Court Road, Farringdon, Liverpool Street (Elizabeth line only), Whitechapel, Canary Wharf, Woolwich

Jubilee line – Westminster, Waterloo (Jubilee line only) Southwark, London Bridge (Jubilee line only), Bermondsey, Canada Water, Canary Wharf, North Greenwich

Piccadilly line – Covent Garden

Next month, coverage will also begin on the Bakerloo line. The southern end of the Northern line from Stockwell to Morden will also start to get mobile coverage shortly, with 4G and 5G coverage due to become available at Clapham Common station next week, and further tunnels and stations going live during the summer.

Shashi Verma, CTO of TfL, said:

“It’s great to see that all Elizabeth line stations, and even more Tube stations, now have high-quality mobile coverage for the first time. This programme is gathering pace and we are working hard to bring the benefits of being able to stay in contact while travelling through our city as quickly as possible.”

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said:

“This is yet another step towards ensuring Londoners and visitors can stay connected on our transport network. I promised that customers would be able to access high-speed mobile coverage at all stations and in tunnels, and I’m pleased to see how quickly the team are moving to enable 4G and 5G connectivity.

Now, customers can access the latest travel information, keep in touch with colleagues, friends and family, use social media and stream music at every station along the Elizabeth line. This is just one of the many ways we are supporting Londoners as we build a better, fairer and more prosperous London for everyone.”

The progress means that a significant proportion of the entire Tube network (around 80% of stations across the network), as well as the entire Elizabeth line, remain on track to have mobile coverage by the end of 2024.

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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 X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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Comments
1 Response
  1. Avatar photo Anonymous says:

    While the announcement of finally bringing mobile coverage to the London Underground is certainly welcome news, it’s a development that is long overdue. Major cities across Europe have had subway tube and rail Mobile coverage for roughly a quarter century at this point. London has lagged far behind its counterparts in this basic amenity for transit riders.

    Attempts were previously made to sidestep the issue by touting wifi capabilities at stations (namely Virgin), but this proved an inadequate substitute for true mobile connectivity throughout the transit network. It’s baffling that installing comprehensive CCTV surveillance across all Underground stations happened with relative ease, yet enabling something as simple as underground mobile coverage has taken an inexplicable amount of time to accomplish.
    Still, the old adage that “better late than never” rings true. Londoners and visitors alike will be relieved that they can finally make calls, browse the internet, and stay connected during their tube journeys underground. While the delays are lamentable, the capital is playing catch-up at last on an issue that other major world cities solved long ago.

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