4G and 5G mobile networks have been rolled out to the first tube stations in London’s West End as part of a programme to bring coverage to the whole network.
Customers travelling through Oxford Circus and Tottenham Court Road stations can now get coverage within the ticket halls, on the Central line platforms and in the tunnel connecting the two stations.
The Northern line platforms at Tottenham Court Road also get coverage for the first time.
All four mobile network operators – Three UK, EE, Vodafone and O2 – are supported, and the roll-out is set to continue across some of London’s busiest locations in coming weeks
Transport for London awarded a contract to BAI Communications in 2021 to build out the infrastructure needed to bring mobile networks underground.
Uninterrupted mobile coverage was first introduced on the eastern half of the Jubilee line in 2020 ahead of plans to bring it to the rest of the network by the middle of this decade.
The Elizabeth line is next on track to get 4G coverage from the end of this year.
A signal is provided along tunnels using cables known as ‘leaky feeders’ that comprise a standard coaxial cable that can emit and receive radio waves. The cable is ‘leaky’ in that it has gaps or slots in its outer conductor to allow the radio signal to leak into or out of the cable along its entire length.
Mobile networks at Euston, Goodge Street, Chancery Lane and Bank are expected to go live for the Northern and Central lines throughout the coming weeks.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: “I am delighted to see the promise I made of delivering 4G and 5G across the London Underground continuing to progress, with West End hubs Oxford Circus and Tottenham Court Road joining an ever-growing network of line and stations with full connectivity.
“This means Londoners and visitors can now access the latest travel information or social media, check their emails, make calls, and stream videos whilst on the move underground. Growing numbers of underground Tube stations now have 4G and 5G services, with many more to come as we continue to build a better London for everyone.”
Greg McCall, BT Group’s chief networks officer, said: “Bringing EE’s 4G and 5G to Underground stations in London’s West End is a significant milestone as we continue to connect previously unreachable parts of the city’s transport system.
“This continued investment in the capital demonstrates our commitment to delivering 5G connectivity anywhere in the UK by 2028.”
The service is provided in partnership with Boldyn Networks, whose multi-carrier network connects London Underground’s stations and tunnels both with each other and with the outside world.
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