Moburst

Three and EE to offer 4G and 5G mobile services on the London Underground system

David Murphy

Three and EE have struck a deal with BAI Communications (BAI), which delivers mobile connectivity on the London Underground network, to provide 4G and 5G-ready mobile connectivity across the London Underground system.

All mobile operators will be able to access the London Underground wi-fi, as well as BAI’s neutral host mobile network, which can also be made available to the Emergency Services Network (ESN). The infrastructure will also be 5G-ready, allowing seamless upgrades in the future.

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan said: “I’m delighted to see Three and EE sign up as the first operators to provide full high-speed 4G access across the tube network. This will make a huge difference to passengers, allowing them to make calls, read emails and check travel information while on the move. Investing in London’s connectivity and digital infrastructure is one important way we are helping to stimulate our city’s economy. It also represents a significant step towards ensuring the whole tube network has 5G-ready mobile coverage.”

Since BAI was awarded the concession in June 2021, work at some of London's busiest stations, including Oxford Circus, Tottenham Court Road, Bank, Euston and Camden Town, is underway to prepare them to be some of the first to be connected by the end of 2022. All stations and tunnels across the Tube network are due to have high-quality and uninterrupted mobile coverage by the end of 2024.

Progress continues to be made to ensure that customers on the forthcoming Elizabeth line can enjoy mobile connectivity as soon as possible once it has opened in the first half of 2022. Work is now underway to allow 4G connectivity to start being introduced for customers on both the trains and platforms during 2022. From launch, customers will be able to benefit from wi-fi connectivity within stations along the line in the same way they currently experience within Tube stations. Wi-fi access within the tunnels will be introduced later in 2022.

BAI anticipates investing more than £1bn across the Connected London programme, which will see a backbone of mobile and digital connectivity established across London. A full-fibre network will also be delivered that will connect to buildings and street assets, like traffic lights and lampposts that house small mobile transmitter cells to leverage the power of 5G and the Internet of Things. These can then be used by boroughs, academics and developers to deliver improvements in everything from air quality and traffic congestion to public safety and city planning.