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TfL and Vodafone take 4G into London Underground


Mark Say Managing Editor

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Transport for London (TfL) has launched a pilot project with Vodafone to provide 4G connectivity in tunnels at station platforms on the Underground network.

They have announced a pilot that makes the mobile operator the first to pilot connectivity, initially focused on the eastern stretch of the Jubilee Line between Westminster and Canning Town.

It follows the provision of cabling in the tunnels and on platforms to provide a ‘leaky feeder’ network, in which the shielding is stripped away from sections of the cable to allow the signals to escape.

TfL said in July that it is aiming to have all of the network cabled – covering more than 2,000km – with the capacity to provide a signal by the middle of next year.

Vodafone said the move will make it possible for travellers on the Underground to connect devices to its network for calls, video streaming and content downloads.

It added that the service will have the potential for 5G connectivity in the future.

A TfL spokesperson said it is working with other mobile network operators to get them to join the pilot.

Digital hub

The announcement came on the day Mayor of London Sadiq Khan opened Vodafone’s new digital hub in Southwark, highlighting its potential promote the adoption of 5G.

He said: “London is on track to become the world’s leading smart city, and the move to 5G has the potential to make the capital a global trailblazer in civic innovation. By working with providers like Vodafone we can develop the best technologies that will boost our economy and meet the needs of Londoners, radically improving how we live and work.”

Image from TfL

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