4G mobile coverage across the London Underground network – not just in stations – could arrive in 2019.
Transport for London has said following the completion of a successful trial on the Waterloo and City line during the summer, it could now begin looking for a service provider to deliver the network in the next two years.
All four major mobile networks – Vodafone, O2, Three and EE – took part in the designing of the trial, with Vodafone and O2 carrying out testing in the tunnels.
TfL says it now hopes to create a network using 4G cellular technology that will enable Tube users to get online on the Underground network, even when on the train between stations.
TfL director of commercial development Graeme Craig said: “The success of this trial shows that we are on track to unlock one of the UK’s most high profile not-spots and deliver 4G mobile coverage throughout our tunnels and Tube stations.
“This is great news for our customers and will also help us generate vital commercial income to reinvest in modernising and improving transport in London.” Tfl said it hopes to begin connecting stations on the Tube network in 2019, but has been consulting with service providers since September on how to best create a 4G mobile network.
London’s chief digital officer Theo Blackwell said: “This is a brilliant initiative and part of our work to improve connectivity at home, in our high streets, public spaces and across the transport network.
“TfL’s innovation shows we can make a real difference and benefit Londoners through using city-wide public assets in a smarter way, starting with the Tube.”