Transport for London (TfL) has provided an update on its plans to enable mobile phone connectivity across the London Underground network, with several stations set to be switched on in the coming months.
A new agreement with Vodafone and Virgin Media O2 means that all four of the UK’s mobile network operators will have access to the “neutral host” network being provided by BAI Communications.
Following the successful transfer of a pilot section on the eastern end of the Jubilee line to BAI earlier this year, a further five stations will see 4G connectivity in the next six months – Bank, Oxford Circus, Tottenham Court Road, Euston, and Camden Town.
Beyond this TfL said that further sections of the network would go live by summer 2023, including “stations across the City and West End on the Central line”, and work is also continuing to deliver mobile coverage across the recently opened central section of the Elizabeth line between Paddington and Abbey Wood.
TfL said that once works are complete “customers will be able to make calls wherever they are on the Underground, check the latest travel information, keep on top of their emails, catch up on social media and live stream videos, transforming the passenger experience and securing London’s transformation into a smart city”.
The BAI network will also host a new Emergency Services Network, which will provide first responders with “immediate access to life-saving data, images and information in live situations and emergencies on the frontline”.
Commenting on the news Shashi Verma, chief technology officer at TfL, said:
“Mobile connectivity across the stations and tunnels across the Tube network will help our customers stay connected more easily as well as work, shop and stay in touch on the move.
“I’m delighted that all four major mobile operators are set to provide high-speed, uninterrupted 4G coverage on the Tube.
“We are working hard with BAI Communications to get the next stations completed by the end of the year so our customers can benefit as soon as possible.”