TfL currently has WiFi enabled at 260 London Underground stations
Transport for London (TfL) has confirmed plans to bring 4G signal to the Jubilee Line from March next year, with plans to connect the whole of the London Underground by the mid 2020’s.
From March next year the eastern half of the Jubilee Line will receive full mobile connectivity within station tunnels and platforms.
This section will run between Westminster and Canning Town and will be built on the existing WiFi service that TfL offers within a number of stations currently.
4G will cover ticket halls and corridors within stations within these stations, with London Bridge and Waterloo added later next year, subject to approval.
It is expected that the project will require 2,000km of cabling, as work will be carried out through night shifts to avoid disruption.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: “I’m delighted that we will be introducing mobile connectivity to the London Underground from next March. This is a really important step for the millions of people who use the Tube each year.
“Introducing 4G and, in the future, 5G will help Londoners and visitors keep in touch and get the latest travel information while on the go. London is the best place to live, visit and work – and projects like this will help make it even better.”
TfL chief technology officer Shashi Verma added: “The London Underground network is an incredibly challenging environment in which to deliver technological improvements, but we are now well on the path to delivering mobile connectivity within our stations and tunnels.
“We have begun the complex work to allow our customers to be able to get phone reception within our tunnels from March 2020, with more stations and lines coming online during the coming years.”
Cobham Wireless VP business development and technology Ingo Flomer said it’s about time London caught up with other major cities.
“London was the first to open an underground rail network in 1863, but it will be one of the last major routes to support cellular coverage. New York’s subway, Berlin’s U-Bahn and metros in Paris, Barcelona, Tokyo, and more all allow passengers to use their connected devices both on board trains and at stations.”
Flomer believes that a connected 4G network underground paves the way for 5G in the future.
“The challenging environment of the London Underground does not make it easy to deploy connectivity when compared to more modern metro systems, but the technology does exist to achieve reliable connectivity now.
“A fully established 4G network will also provide the network foundations that can be built on for 5G connectivity in the future, providing longer term benefits to Londoners.”