Telecoms concession goes to BAI Communications
We have awarded a 20-year telecoms concession to BAI Communications.
By the end of 2024 customers on the Tube will be able to access full mobile connectivity and the internet within every London Underground station and tunnel. This investment will remove one of the most high-profile mobile 'not-spots' in the UK.
The concession will see a backbone of mobile and digital connectivity established across London. Uninterrupted 4G mobile coverage has already been introduced on the eastern half of the Jubilee line and will be expanded in phases to ticket halls, platforms and tunnels on the Tube network. Customers will be able to check the latest travel information, keep on top of their emails and the latest news, catch up on social media, watch videos or make a quick call throughout their journey.
Adding to fibre connectivity
London's Tube tunnels will also be used to provide full fibre connectivity across the city which will then connect to buildings and our street assets such as lighting columns and bus stops. A network of small mobile transmitters for 5G will bring city-wide improvements to connectivity and future growth. The new high-capacity fibre network will take fibre directly into London's neighbourhoods, creating new opportunities for commercial and domestic usage with gigabit-capable speeds that will support digital inclusion in London.
More than 2,000km of cabling will be installed on the network, all of which will be fitted outside of operational hours. In addition to benefitting customers, the network will host the Home Office's new Emergency Service Network used by the Police, Fire and emergency response services.
The partnership with BAI Communications will also generate additional revenue for TfL across the 20-year lifespan of the contract and help our operations teams.
Three and EE have now signed up to provide 4G across the London Underground network and discussions with other operators continue.
Jubilee line pilot
As part of the Mayor's 'Smarter London Together' plan we invested in a 4G pilot in 2020 on the eastern section of the Jubilee line. This pilot runs on station platforms and in tunnels between Westminster and Canning Town.
The pilot section allows customers to check for the latest travel information, catch up on social media and read their emails or the latest news uninterrupted, as part of their journey.
The trialling of 2G, 3G and 4G mobile services along this section of the London Underground network will give us and the mobile operators valuable experience of delivering mobile services on the Underground ahead of awarding a concession in spring 2021.
We have installed a neutral host distributed antenna system (DAS). The service covers ticket halls and corridors within stations along this section of the Jubilee line, with the exception of London Bridge and Waterloo stations.
Participating network operators
All four UK mobile phone network operators, EE, Vodafone, Telefonica O2 and 3UK, are taking part in the trial and are offering a service to their customers and the virtual networks that operate via their services. This means that all customers will be able to stay connected underground, even if you use a different UK-based provider.
How to connect
Your phone should automatically search for and connect to the mobile connectivity signal as if you were above ground. As this pilot is testing the system, there may be times when the signal is variable in quality and the mobile coverage within the pilot area may be subject to refinements and changes
Your phone will also be able to connect to station Wi-Fi when available.
How long is the pilot?
The pilot is a non-commercial project is scheduled to last for 24 months until March 2022. It is part of our long-term investment plan to deliver mobile connectivity below ground. The pilot will help us roll out 4G connectivity across the London Underground, providing insight into how customers will use the 4G service.
Waterloo & City line trial
In summer 2017, before the Jubilee line trial, we worked with mobile network operators on a trial of mobile coverage during non-passenger hours in the stations and deep-level tunnels of the Waterloo & City line.
Current Wi-Fi services
We have installed Wi-Fi across more than 260 Tube stations and 79 London Overground stations. Wi-Fi is available in the ticket halls, passenger corridors and platforms of these Tube stations and in the ticket halls and passages of the Overground stations.
We will extend Wi-Fi to the new Elizabeth Line stations at Farringdon, Tottenham Court Road, Woolwich, Canary Wharf, Paddington, Whitechapel, Custom House, Bond Street, Liverpool Street and Abbey Wood in time for the opening of each station.
Public Wi-Fi will still be available to customers as part of Connected London.
See more about our current Wi-Fi service on the Station Wi-Fi page.