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More London stations get high-speed mobile coverage

May 14, 2024

All Elizabeth line stations across London now have 4G mobile coverage as the Mayor and TfL’s programme to improve connectivity for those travelling underground continues.

Paddington, Canary Wharf, Whitechapel and Woolwich stations all recently gained 4G mobile coverage – meaning that all Elizabeth line stations now have mobile coverage – from ticket halls all the way to the platforms. Work to deliver coverage within the tunnelled sections of the Elizabeth line continues, with the first sections between Bond Street and Liverpool Street expected to get coverage within the coming month, with the whole line completed later this year.

The system, delivered in partnership with Boldyn Networks, will also host the new Emergency Services Network (ESN), which when fully operational, will give first responders immediate access to life-saving data, images and information in live situations and emergencies on the frontline.

Following line testing to ensure that the introduction of 4G and 5G mobile coverage would not impact existing safety systems required to run a safe and reliable network, the tunnelled section between Euston and Warren Street on the Victoria line, as well as Covent Garden station on the Piccadilly line, have also both begun receiving mobile coverage. The tunnelled sections between Piccadilly Circus and Hyde Park Corner on the Piccadilly line will also go live in the coming weeks.

In June, coverage will also begin on the Bakerloo line. The southern end of the Northern line from Stockwell to Morden will also start to get mobile coverage shortly, with 4G and 5G coverage due to become available at Clapham Common station in the coming days, and further tunnels and stations going live during the summer.

The introduction of high-speed mobile coverage by TfL and Boldyn Networks means that customers can stay better connected as they travel to and from the West End to shop, meet friends and visit the area’s theatres, restaurants and bars. All four mobile network operators – Three UK, EE, Vodafone, and Virgin Media O2 (VMO2) – are taking part in the rollout.

Currently, around 31 out of 121 Tube stations with platforms that are underground, and therefore usually unable to get a mobile signal, as well as connecting tunnels, have mobile coverage. This is around 25 per cent of stations which are ‘underground’, and when combined with Tube stations which are above ground, means that more than two thirds of all stations on the Tube network now have mobile coverage available.

This continued progress means that a significant proportion of the entire Tube network (around 80 per cent of stations across the network) as well as the entire Elizabeth line, remain on track to have mobile coverage by the end of 2024.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, commented: “This is yet another step towards ensuring Londoners and visitors can stay connected on our transport network. I promised that customers would be able to access high-speed mobile coverage at all stations and in tunnels, and I’m pleased to see how quickly the team are moving to enable 4G and 5G connectivity. Now, customers can access the latest travel information, keep in touch with colleagues, friends and family, use social media and stream music at every station along the Elizabeth line. This is just one of the many ways we are supporting Londoners as we build a better, fairer and more prosperous London for everyone.”

Shashi Verma, Chief Technology Officer at TfL, said: “It’s great to see that all Elizabeth line stations, and even more Tube stations, now have high-quality mobile coverage for the first time. This programme is gathering pace and we are working hard to bring the benefits of being able to stay in contact while travelling through our city as quickly as possible.”

Billy D’Arcy, CEO of UK & Ireland at Boldyn Networks, said: “With all Elizabeth lines stations now offering 4G mobile coverage, this milestone shows the rapid progress of our work to deploy connectivity across the London Underground. Customers can  stay connected with friends and family at some of the busiest stations across central London, and with further expansion of connectivity throughout the summer period, this will help to create a safer and smarter city for residents, businesses and visitors.”

A Virgin Media O2 spokesperson said: “The latest rollout of mobile coverage across the London Underground will ensure our customers can stay connected on the move. Virgin Media O2 is committed to improving the experience for our customers no matter where they are, including around key transport routes. Rollout is set to continue, with further London Underground lines and stations set to benefit from 4G and 5G mobile connectivity in the near future.”

David Hennessy, Chief Technology Officer, Three UK, said: “I am delighted that Three customers now have connectivity on the Elizabeth line. With coverage now in all stations along the route, our customers can access the latest travel information across ticket halls and platforms, as well as scroll on social media, check their emails, make calls, and stream videos whilst they’re on the move.”

Ruth Duston, CEO and Founder of Primera, which operates 12 central London business improvement districts, added: “A city’s infrastructure is what underpins a good visitor experience and being able to stay in touch with family and friends is a major component of this, so we are delighted to see mobile coverage being expanded on the TfL network. As well as enabling Londoners and tourists alike to navigate our city and to find out about things to do near them, this is also a welcome milestone for London’s reputation as a global tech capital.”

The project is being implemented by Boldyn Networks, a neutral host network provider, who was awarded a 20-year concession by TfL in June 2021 to deliver high speed, 5G-ready mobile connectivity across the entire London Underground network. Boldyn Networks, formerly BAI Communications, is installing a fibre backbone across the capital to improve connectivity both above and below ground, bringing wide reaching socio-economic benefits to local businesses and communities.

Around 500 people are working overnight across the Tube network to install mobile equipment, with all works needed to be tidied away before the network opens for customers every morning. Once fully delivered, more than 2,000 kilometres of cabling as well as thousands of radios are expected to be installed within tunnels and stations, all of which will be fitted outside of operational hours.

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