The operators have today said they have struck separate deals with BAI Communications to use their neutral mobile network to provide services on the Tube
In June this year, BAI Communications announced that it had won a contract to build a neutral host mobile network for the London Underground following a competitive tender process. The project is set to deploy a 4G-ready and 5G-capable mobile system by 2024, with BAI pledging to invest £1 billion in investment over the next 20 years.
Today, EE and Three have announced that they are the first of the UK’s mobile network operators to agree a deal with BAI and begin providing services using the Underground’s network.
All ticket halls, platforms, and tunnels across the Tube network will eventually receive mobile coverage, with Oxford Circus, Tottenham Court Road, Bank, Euston, and Camden Town comprising some of the Underground locations where work is already underway. The network will reportedly be activated in these areas by the end of 2022.
Work to deploy mobile connectivity to the upcoming Elizabeth Line, which is set to open to customers in the first half of 2022, is also reportedly underway, with 4G set to be available to customers on trains and platforms next year. WiFi will be available to customers on the Elizabeth Line’s platforms from the service’s launch, with WiFi connectivity in tunnels to be deployed later in 2022.
As part of the deals, both Three and EE will gain access to the existing WiFi network across the Tube network. This will, of course, also be made available to the Emergency Services Network.
“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,” said the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan.
Vodafone is expected to sign up to BAI’s Tube network next month.
Is mobile coverage of the UK’s transport infrastructure in need of an upgrade? Find out what the operators think at our Connected Britain conference 2022