North Greenwich tube station, Jubilee line

London Underground’s Jubilee Line to get 4G

Image credit: Dreamstime

4G will be switched on in the London Underground’s Jubilee Line tomorrow, making it the first line to be equipped with a mobile network.

Mobile operators have been collaborating with Transport for London (TfL) on the project for some time. The pilot project will see the Eastern section of the Jubilee receiving a 4G makeover.

Mobile coverage will be initially available on platforms and in tunnels between Canning Town and Westminster (which includes Canary Wharf) before being expanded to the rest of the Jubilee line by the end of the year.

Passengers will be able to make phone calls, check for the latest travel information, and browse the internet uninterrupted during their journeys on this section of the Jubilee line.

Ticket halls and corridors within stations are also covered by the pilot, except London Bridge and Waterloo stations where the signal will only be available on the Jubilee line platforms.

London Underground already has WiFi across all its stations, although passengers can only connect on the platforms.

Last week it emerged that around 4.4 million homes across the UK are restricted to broadband speeds slower than those available on the network.

Last year E&T spoke to Cobham Wireless, who were tendering for the contract to roll out the system. They said contractors would be limited to working during short 3-4 hour windows in the middle of the night where workers can access the tunnels while the trains aren't running. Cables will be run along the length of the tunnels that “leak” radio signals at set intervals allowing users an uninterrupted connection.

People will be able to access their data, SMS and call packages in the same way that they do outside the tube system, unlike the current WiFi system which is restricted to Virgin customers and those with certain other contracts.

Derek McManus, COO of O2, said: “Not only will the project bring much needed service to commuters across London - it will also mean thousands of fans travelling to The O2 for the best live entertainment events in the UK will now be able to share their experiences with friends and family, before and after a show.”

“We’re proud to be working with TfL and other mobile network operators to bring connectivity to where our customers need it most and we are excited to see the future potential of this project as it expands across the tube network.”

Marc Allera, CEO of BT’s consumer division, said: “This is a big step for both connectivity, and for London. We’re looking forward to seeing how our customers use 4G on the Underground – it’s a big step forward for keeping entertained, and keeping in touch. We know how valuable that is, and this switch on aims to pave the way for a wider rollout across the Underground.”

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