Skipper

London Underground to receive high-speed mobile coverage

Gabby Fernie

Transport for London (TfL) has awarded a 20-year concession to telecommunications service provider, BAI Communications enabling high-speed mobile coverage across the whole Tube network, the Mayor of London has today announced. 

Uninterrupted 4G mobile coverage has already been introduced on the eastern half of the Jubilee line and will be expanded in phases to ticket halls, platforms, and tunnels on the Tube network over the next three years, with all stations and tunnels due to have mobile coverage by the end of 2024. 

London’s Tube tunnels will also be used to provide full fibre connectivity across the city, which can then be connected to buildings and street assets like street lighting and bus stops. This will help to further increase mobile coverage through small mobile transmitters, as well as leveraging the power of 5G to deliver city-wide improvements and future growth. 

To help reduce disruption, TfL has already begun installing the necessary cabling within a number of stations and tunnels to help reduce the need for additional closures and ensure mobile connectivity can be introduced more easily.

Work will now begin at several stations including Oxford Circus, Tottenham Court Road, Bank, Euston and Camden Town, ahead of them being some of the first to be connected by the end of 2022.

BAI Communications, who was awarded the concession after a competitive tender process, is a leading global provider of 4G and 5G connected infrastructure. The agreement will build on BAI’s significant experience of deploying communications networks in highly dense urban environments across the world, including New York, Toronto, and Hong Kong.

The neutral host network being delivered as part of this concession will be the most advanced network of its kind in the world and available for use by all mobile operators. The infrastructure will also be 5G ready, allowing for a seamless upgrade for mobile operators in the future.

“I promised Londoners that if they re-elected me for a second term as Mayor I would deliver 4G throughout the Tube network" said the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan. "It’s already up and running on the eastern half of the Jubilee line and I’m delighted to announced today that I am fulfilling that commitment and full internet access will be available across the Tube, with key central London stations such as Oxford Circus and Euston set to benefit before the end of next year. Protecting jobs and stimulating our city’s economy is a top priority for me as London rebuilds after this pandemic and investing in London’s connectivity and digital infrastructure is central to this.”