Three and EE agree deal to provide high-speed mobile connectivity across whole London Tube network
Another major step in improving the capital's mobile connectivity was achieved today as Three and EE join the BAI Communications (BAI) network to provide 4G and 5G-ready mobile connectivity across the London Underground.
The deal between the two networks and BAI, which was awarded a 20-year concession with Transport for London (TfL) to deliver mobile connectivity on the Underground, will give customers on the networks access to uninterrupted coverage whilst on the Tube and within the stations.
The Tube is one of the world's largest underground networks and providing uninterrupted mobile connectivity will allow customers to check the latest travel information, keep on top of their emails, catch up on social media, live stream videos or make calls wherever they are on the Underground.
By partnering with BAI to deliver connectivity to their customers, Three and EE will help lead London's transformation into a truly smart city.
All mobile operators will be able to access the London Underground WiFi, as well as BAI's neutral host mobile network, which can also be made available to the Emergency Services Network (ESN). The infrastructure will also be 5G-ready, allowing seamless upgrades in the future.
Huge difference to passengers
Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan said: 'I'm delighted to see Three and EE sign up as the first operators to provide full high-speed 4G access across the tube network. This will make a huge difference to passengers, allowing them to make calls, read emails and check travel information while on the move.
'Investing in London's connectivity and digital infrastructure is one important way we are helping to stimulate our city's economy. It also represents a significant step towards ensuring the whole Tube network has 5G-ready mobile coverage.'
Billy D'Arcy, CEO of BAI Communications UK, said: 'We're pleased to welcome Three and EE as our launch partners and the first operators who will be transforming customer experience on the London Underground by enabling them to access seamless, 5G-ready connectivity.
'This is an important next step on the project's journey which will allow passengers to move around the capital more smartly, safely, and securely.
'More broadly, the new backbone of connectivity will create a platform for innovation and allow London's residents and businesses to harness smart city technology, helping to improve urban life and boost the economy.'
Three CEO, Robert Finnegan, said: 'Three is delighted to be part of bringing even more connectivity to our customers in London. They will be able to enjoy smooth streaming, phone calls underground and continued seamless coverage while they travel, even in tunnels.'
Philip Jansen, Chief Executive of BT Group, said: 'This is huge news for customers and for London, bringing EE's coverage to previously unreachable parts of the city's transport system.
'This deal puts BT at the heart of plans to help London digitally leapfrog its rivals and maintain its status as a world-leading destination for tourists and businesses, as well as a home to millions of citizens.
'Our investment in the capital is part of our mission to digitise the entire UK, as we build like fury to expand our fibre and mobile networks further and faster than anyone else.'
Shashi Verma, Chief Technology Officer at TfL, said: 'It is great that these first two mobile operators have now signed up to provide high-speed, uninterrupted 4G coverage across the London Underground network.
'Providing mobile connectivity to customers within the tunnels and on platforms across London will help them stay connected more easily and will both provide a long-term revenue stream for TfL and support economic growth across the city.'
Dr. Amy Hochadel, Director at Connected Places Catapult, said: 'Technology offers solutions to many of the challenges that cities face today, and high-speed mobile connectivity is critical to ensuring that innovation can scale up to enable improvements in all aspects of life, from city planning and management to productivity and sustainability.
'This announcement is such exciting news for London, accelerating its smart city journey and establishing a framework that should be the foundation for all global cities striving to be digitally inclusive and improve the lives of its citizens.'
Since BAI was awarded the concession in June 2021, work at some of London's busiest stations, including Oxford Circus, Tottenham Court Road, Bank, Euston and Camden Town, is underway to prepare them to be some of the first to be connected by the end of 2022.
All stations and tunnels across the Tube network are due to have high-quality and uninterrupted mobile coverage by the end of 2024.
Uninterrupted mobile coverage
Progress continues to be made to ensure that customers on the forthcoming Elizabeth line can enjoy mobile connectivity as soon as possible once it has opened in the first half of 2022.
Work is now underway to allow 4G connectivity to start being introduced for customers on both the trains and platforms during 2022.
From launch, customers will be able to benefit from WiFi connectivity within stations along the line in the same way they currently experience within Tube stations. WiFi access within the tunnels will be introduced later in 2022.
BAI anticipates investing more than £1bn across the Connected London programme, which will see a backbone of mobile and digital connectivity established across London.
A full-fibre network will also be delivered that will connect to buildings and street assets, like traffic lights and lampposts that house small mobile transmitter cells to leverage the power of 5G and the Internet of Things.
These can then be used by boroughs, academics and developers to deliver improvements in everything from air quality and traffic congestion to public safety and city planning.
For more information - please visit https://tfl.gov.uk/info-for/business-and-advertisers/creating-a-connected-london
For more information contact:
- BAI Communications, 07771 101 514, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Three, 07454 959 715, email@example.com
- BT, BTconsumer@ccgrouppr.com
Notes to editors
- Imagery is available to download here: https://we.tl/t-dsTIJiFxaQ
- The delivery of mobile connectivity on the Tube is via a concession through private investment rather than using public funds, with BAI Communications as the long-term investor. The project will deliver a new income stream to Transport for London without any capital costs
- In addition to benefiting customers, providing 4G on the network will generate additional revenue for TfL across the 20-year length of the concession, which will help reduce TfL's reliance on fares revenue, as well as help operational teams by providing better connectivity while underground
- By making it easy to connect, the system being delivered by BAI will also unlock and help level up economic and social opportunities for the capital's businesses and communities. Research by the GLA estimates that enabling small and medium enterprises to access affordable gigabit-capable connections could see productivity increases of between seven per cent and ten per cent. However - only 11 per cent of the capital's buildings can currently access full fibre connectivity
- Connection of the Emergency Services Network is subject to a separate commercial arrangement
About BAI Communications
BAI Communications is a world leader in shared communications infrastructure, pioneering solutions that empower our customers to advance their services, accelerate their networks and amplify their reach in the most efficient and cost-effective ways possible. Having long been at the forefront of network advancement, BAI is harnessing fibre, spearheading the transition from 4G/LTE, accelerating 5G and preparing for 6G - and beyond. We collaborate closely with our customers in MNOs, government, transit, enterprise, broadcasting and venues to realise their communications vision, focusing not just on the immediate future, but on the possibilities that exist over long-term partnerships. Our global operations span Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, United Kingdom and in the United States through BAI Group company, Mobilitie, and majority-owned Transit Wireless. Together, we're creating smarter communities for all.
Three launched in 2003 as the UK's first 3G only network, laying its foundations as the network that was born to be different. Today Three is a connectivity company that connects people to people, people to things and things to things and has 9.6 million customers. Our network today covers 99% of the UK population and we carry 28% of the UK's mobile data traffic.
Three launched 5G in August 2019, is the largest holder of spectrum in the UK and has been recognised by Ookla as having the UK's fastest 5G network. It is the only operator able to meet the International Telecoms Union (ITU) 2020 standard of 100MHz of contiguous spectrum for full 5G services.
Three is the official partner and shirt sponsor of Chelsea FC men's and women's teams. Three UK is a proud partner of Samaritans, where it will use the strength of its network and technology to connect 1 million people to emotional support. Three was voted the Best Network for Data at the Mobile Choice Consumer Awards, as well as Best Network for Roaming by uSwitch, and the Best High Street Retailer at the Mobile Industry Awards. Three UK is part of the CK Hutchison Holdings Ltd group of companies which has mobile operations in 11 countries. We employ more than 4,800 people across our offices in Reading and Glasgow and our 311 retail stores.
EE runs the UK's biggest and fastest mobile network, offering superfast connections in more places than any other operator. EE brought the first 4G network to the UK in October 2012, and launched the UK's first 5G network in May 2019.
EE has received extensive independent recognition, including being named the UK's no.1 5G network by RootMetrics® in 2020 and 2021, and the UK's best network every year since 2014 for the following awards: The Mobile Choice Awards, The Mobile Industry Awards and by RootMetrics®.
As well as delivering mobile services to consumers, small and medium businesses, corporate customers and Government programmes, EE also provides home and business broadband using both 4G and fixed line connections.
EE is committed to being number one for service in the industry, and has nearly 600 shops across the UK. EE remains the only mobile provider to answer 100% of customer calls in the UK and Ireland and was recognised as the UK's Best Large Contact Centre by the UK Customer Experience Awards 2018 and Welsh Contact Centre Awards 2019. EE was awarded The Sunday Times' Best 100 Companies to Work for in 2018 and 2019, as well as being named Best Employer 2018 by the European Contact Centre & Customer Service awards.
EE is part of BT's Consumer business unit which provides products and services to all of BT's consumer customers in the UK.