London is expanding 4G mobile coverage across the entirety of the underground. The network, which will span every station and tunnel on the UK capital's busy metro system, will be delivered by the end of 2024. Before then, some of the busiest sections of the tube will get 4G connectivity by the end of 2022, including Oxford Circus, Tottenham Court Road, Bank, Euston and Camden Town stations.
Transport for London has chosen infrastructure provider BAI Communications to build out the network as part of a 20-year concession. Tube tunnels will also be fitted with superfast fiber optic cables to bring full-fiber broadband to more parts of London. With 5G already sprouting in hundreds of towns and cities across the UK, the tube's infrastructure is being built to allow a "seamless" upgrade in the future, Transport for London (TFL) announced.
The latest step in TFL's connectivity rollout is the culmination of a four-year process. An auction was held in 2017 and was followed by a 4G pilot at platforms and in tunnels on the eastern section of the Jubilee Line in 2020. The test saw the UK capital playing catch up with other major cities that already offered mobile connectivity on their metro systems, including New York, Paris and Berlin. London's underground network already offers WiFi from carrier Virgin Media at over 260 stations.
TFL said that all of the upgrade work will be carried out outside of operational hours to avoid disturbing commuters. The project will see more than 2,000 kilometers of cables installed within tunnels and stations. Alongside the Jubilee Line, TFL has also begun work on the Victoria line as well as within the Northern Line Extension.