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Vodafone and VMO2 will deploy 4G and 5G on London Underground

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A new deal with Infrastructure firm BAI Communications, who handles the network in the Underground, will mean Vodafone and VMO2 customers will be able to make calls on the tube.

Vodafone and VMO2 joining BAI Communications’ London Underground network means commuters will be able to connect on all four of the major operator’s 4G and 5G networks, with EE and Three having already signed up, once it has been completed.

BAI was granted a 20 year contract to deliver connectivity on the Underground by TFL in June last year. Once it’s set up travellers will be able to make calls and use data to their heart’s content whilst being ferried around the capital. The ‘neutral host mobile network’ will also host a new Emergency Services Network, which will help first responders as they respond to emergencies.

In terms of the rollout, having run a pilot on the eastern end of the Jubilee, Bank, Oxford Circus, Tottenham Court Road, Euston and Camden Town stations will be next to get coverage, which should happen within the next six months. Some sections of Tube network will go live by summer 2023, and work is still being done on setting gup coverage across the recently opened central section of the Elizabeth line between Paddington and Abbey Wood.

“Improving the capital’s connectivity and digital infrastructure is central to London’s economic recovery from the pandemic, so I am delighted that Vodafone and Virgin Media O2 customers will now have access to high-speed mobile coverage when travelling on the Tube,” said The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan. “I committed to Londoners that I would deliver 4G throughout the Tube network as part of my determination to build a better London for everyone – and I have no doubt that this will transform journeys for millions of passengers.”

Ahmed Essam, CEO at Vodafone UK added: “The UK needs world class digital infrastructure, and bringing 4G and 5G to the London Underground is a big part of that. 4G on the eastern stretch of the Jubilee line is already making a huge difference to our customers, and we’re proud to continue our investment in keeping consumers and businesses connected across more parts of London.”

It’s good they’re making progress, but commuters won’t be cognisant of which bits of the line are connected to their particular network, they’ll just want to know that their phones will work underground if they need them. The announcement seems to skirt around a definitive date for when the whole thing will be live, saying ‘all stations and tunnels across the Tube network remain on course to have high-quality and uninterrupted mobile coverage.’ In previous announcements 2024 was slated as the expected completion date – so whether the omission of any specific date this time round means that will slip remains to be seen.

 

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