Half of Jubilee line to get 4G coverage in March
Written by: Sam Fenwick | Published:

According to Transport for London (TfL), full mobile connectivity for the eastern half of the London Underground Jubilee line will be in place from March 2020.

The trial section will cover the platforms and tunnels between Westminster and Canning Town and will build on TfL’s free Wi-Fi service, which is already present in more than 260 London Underground stations and on TfL Rail services. The mobile 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, which are expected to be added later in 2020.

The trialling of 2G, 3G, and 4G along this section of the line will be followed by the awarding of a concession to deliver mobile coverage across the whole Underground network. The next stage of procurement for the concessionaire will begin shortly with the aim of awarding the contract by the summer of 2020. TfL has been busy installing hundreds of miles of cabling across the network in advance of the awarding the concession to better manage station access, reduce the amount of disruption to customers and allow the concessionaire to then quickly use the infrastructure once the final contract is awarded. In addition, the Night Tube on Fridays and Saturdays limits the number of hours engineers can work on the project a week. The space between the trains and the tunnel walls is also often narrow, with little room to safely install equipment, meaning that any work must be carefully planned and carried out to avoid disruption.

The formal procurement process launched last summer, and TfL has shortlisted four bidders who will be invited to tender for the concession:

  • Axia SC Consortium
  • BAI Communications
  • Cellnex UK Ltd
  • Wireless Infrastructure Group

TfL has been working with them over the past few months to give them a sense of the complexities of working within the Underground, which opened more than 150 years ago.

The system will also provide the Underground with coverage for the Home Office’s Emergency Services Network, which is intended to replace the Airwave system used by the UK’s police forces, fire brigades and emergency response teams.

Shashi Verma, CTO 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.'

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