December 21, 2022
UK operator EE will pipe in 4G to new London Underground stations on the Central and Northern lines.
Passengers passing through Central Line stations Holland Park, Notting Hill Gate, and Queensway are now able to slurp up 4G on their commute to and from the office – assuming the train strikes end at some point and such a thing becomes conceivable once again – with connectivity at Archway, Tufnell Park, Kentish Town on the Northern Line to turned on in a week or so.
EE will run some tests over the Christmas period and then intends to plug in Camden Town, Tottenham Court Road and Oxford Circus in the new year. EE intends to rollout to more stations throughout 2023 and, by the end of 2024 wants to provide 4G across the entirety of the London Underground – including the shiny new Elizabeth line – with 5G at the most majority of locations.
The connectivity will run off a multi-carrier network which links the tunnels and stations of the London Underground, built by BAI Communications who got the contract from TFL to put the kit down. Connectivity in hooked up stations is provided in the ticket halls, platforms, and on the trains themselves.
BAI’s infrastructure is also 5G-ready, allowing for upgrades in the future, and apparently in many cases both 4G and 5G will be rolled out concurrently.
“We’re delighted to be at the forefront of such a transformative project, supporting BAI in delivering what will ultimately be the largest and most advanced network of its type anywhere in the world, and one which aligns with our ongoing mission to digitise the UK through major investment in, and enhancement of, our mobile and fibre networks,” said Greg McCall, Chief Networks Officer, BT. “It’s also yet another milestone in our ambition to deliver high-speed 4G and 5G EE mobile connectivity to as much of the UK as possible, including previously unreachable locations.”
There were similar announcements by the other UK operators over the course of 2022 – and being able to carry on streaming a podcast once you delve underground to get your train seems like an obvious benefit to a daily commute or scoot about town.
The problem with the very piecemeal rollout – however inevitable that is from a technical standpoint – is that the public are unlikely to be cognisant of exactly which stations on which lines have been piped in, and therefore probably just assume there is no connectivity underground as it always has been. Once operators can get 4G/5G out on the tube universally and there is a truly seamless, effortless continuation of connectivity for commuters, it will be a much simpler thing to advertise.
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