Jubilee Line will be first London Underground line to get 4G
The eastern section of London Underground’s Jubilee Line will be the first to get 4G mobile signal next year before eventual rollout across the whole network by the mid 2020’s.
The trial section, which will cover the platforms and tunnels between Westminster and Canning Town, will allow customers to access mobile internet uninterrupted as the train moves through the tunnels.
The service will also cover ticket halls and corridors within stations along this section of the Jubilee line, with the exception of London Bridge and Waterloo stations which, subject to final approvals, will be added later during 2020.
The 4G network, which also supports 2G and 3G signals, will complement WiFi services already present in 260 London Underground stations.
Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, said: “This is a really important step for the millions of people who use the Tube each year. Introducing 4G and, in the future, 5G will help Londoners and visitors keep in touch and get the latest travel information while on the go. London is the best place to live, visit and work - and projects like this will help make it even better.”
Shashi Verma, chief technology officer at TfL, said: “The London Underground network is an incredibly challenging environment in which to deliver technological improvements, but we are now well on the path to delivering mobile connectivity within our stations and tunnels.”
“We have begun the complex work to allow our customers to be able to get phone reception within our tunnels from March 2020, with more stations and lines coming online during the coming years.”
The entire project will require 2,000km of cabling, with engineers working week-night shifts to minimise disruption to passengers. The space between the trains and the tunnel walls is often narrow, with little room to safely install equipment, meaning that any work need to be carefully planned and carried out to avoid potential disruption.
Earlier this year, Ingo Flomer from Cobham Wireless explained how the network would work and some of the technical challenges that needed to be overcome.
Commenting on today’s announcement, Flomer said: “London was the first to open an underground rail network in 1863, but it will be one of the last major routes to support cellular coverage. New York’s subway, Berlin’s U-Bahn and metros in Paris, Barcelona, Tokyo, and more all allow passengers to use their connected devices both on board trains and at stations.”
“The challenging environment of the London Underground does not make it easy to deploy connectivity when compared to more modern metro systems, but the technology does exist to achieve reliable connectivity now.”
“A fully established 4G network will also provide the network foundations that can be built on for 5G connectivity in the future, providing longer term benefits to Londoners.”
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