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Two deals for mobile connectivity on London Underground

21/12/21

Mark Say Managing Editor

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Three and EE have agreed deals with BAI Communications to provide mobile connectivity on the London Underground network.

Man with smartphone at Underground station

Transport for London (TfL) said this is a major step towards providing 4G and 5G within stations and on trains.

Earlier this year, BAI was awarded a 20-year concession to deliver mobile connectivity. The deals with Three and EE will give customers of the network operators access to their signals, with plans for the first connections next year and for full coverage across the Underground network by the end of 2024.

Other mobile operators will be able to strike deals to access the London Underground Wi-Fi and BAI’s neutral host mobile network, which can also be made available to the Emergency Services Network.

The company said that work at some of the busiest stations in the city – including Oxford Circus, Tottenham Court Road and Euston – is underway, and that it will provide an infrastructure ready for 5G. There should also be connectivity on the Elizabeth Line when it opens.

Sashi Verma, chief technology officer at TfL, said: “It is great that these first two mobile operators have now signed up to provide high speed, uninterrupted 4G coverage across the London Underground network.

“Providing mobile connectivity to customers within the tunnels and on platforms across London will help them stay connected more easily and will both provide a long term revenue stream for TfL and support economic growth across the city.”

Smart city boost

Dr Amy Hochadel, director at Connected Places Catapult, commented: “This announcement is such exciting news for London, accelerating its smart city journey and establishing a framework that should be the foundation for all global cities striving to be digitally inclusive and improve the lives of its citizens."

BAI said it anticipates investing more than £1 billion under the Connected London programme, which will see the provision of a backbone of mobile and digital connectivity across the city. This will include the connection of a full fibre network to buildings and street assets.

Image from TfL

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