First tunnelled section of Elizabeth line gets high speed mobile coverage

  • Customers travelling on the Elizabeth line between Liverpool Street and Paddington now benefit from high speed 4G and 5G mobile coverage while travelling in the tunnels
  • Further tunnelled sections to Whitechapel, Canary Wharf and Woolwich will be connected across the summer, building on all Elizabeth line stations getting mobile coverage earlier this year
  • Mobile coverage continues to be rolled out across the Underground network with Hyde Park Corner and Russell Square recently connected for the first time

High speed 4G and 5G mobile coverage is now available to customers using the Elizabeth line as they travel across central London. Following all Elizabeth line stations getting mobile coverage earlier this year, TfL and Boldyn Networks, TfL’s partner in delivering the connectivity, have now introduced coverage within the tunnels from the Royal Oak portal to the west of Paddington to Liverpool Street station, covering approximately five miles and meaning that they can now stay connected as they travel between stations. Further tunnelled sections of the Elizabeth line towards Whitechapel will be connected in the coming weeks, and the whole line will have mobile coverage by the end of summer.

TfL and Boldyn Networks are working to introduce high-speed 4G and 5G mobile coverage across the whole Tube, DLR and Elizabeth line network, as well as between Highbury and Islington and New Cross on the London Overground. Bringing high-speed mobile coverage to London’s underground stations and tunnels means that customers can stay connected as they travel around London and share all the exciting things London has to offer with friends, family and work colleagues. All four mobile network operators – Three UK, EE, Vodafone, and Virgin Media O2 (VMO2) – are taking part in the rollout.

As well as providing mobile coverage to Elizabeth line tunnels, mobile connectivity also continues to be introduced across the Tube network in Central London. Recently, Hyde Park Corner and Russell Square stations on the Piccadilly line started to receive coverage and further sections of the Northern line, Bakerloo line, Piccadilly line and Victoria line are anticipated to go live in the coming month.

Along with allowing customers to stay connected with family and friends above ground, the expanding coverage will also give rail and Tube staff better connectivity to pass on information and host the new Emergency Services Network (ESN). The ESN, when fully operational, will give first responders immediate access to life-saving data, images and information in live situations and emergencies on the frontline.

As well as all eight ‘underground’ Elizabeth line stations, across London, 36 Tube stations have started to offer mobile coverage to customers in the ticket halls, platform areas and interchanges, with many more, including the southern end of the Northern line, expected to go live by the end of the summer. This is around 30 percent of Tube stations which are ‘underground’, and when combined with Tube stations which are above ground, means that nearly 70 per cent of all stations on the Tube network have now started to have mobile coverage available.

London’s Transport Commissioner, Andy Lord, said: “It’s wonderful to see our programme to introduce high-speed mobile coverage now benefitting customers on the Elizabeth line, the newest part of London’s historic underground network of stations and tunnels.

“This key step in bringing better connectivity to London’s underground stations and tunnels will allow more people travelling around the capital to keep in touch, share photos and make the most of the city, especially as we start to enjoy the summer.”

Billy D’Arcy, CEO of UK & Ireland at Boldyn Networks said: “Following the success of all underground Elizabeth line stations being connected, we’re delighted that TfL customers are now starting to enjoy 4G and 5G coverage in the tunnels. This will benefit a huge number of passengers travelling between Liverpool Street and Paddington, including tourists travelling through central London this summer, as progress continues on the rollout of our new digital infrastructure for London.”

Amir Dawoodbhai, 23, and on the Executive Committee of TfL’s  Youth Panel said: “Young Londoners are already some of the most geographically mobile in the country thanks to extensive public transport here in the capital. Mobile coverage on the Elizabeth line and the Tube is a welcome addition to this offering. It enhances perceptions of safety, accessibility and general user-friendliness as young people start to experience London independently for the first time, helping to guide them through what can sometimes feel like a complex transport system.”

Mary McHarg, Union Affairs Officer at University College London and Chair of Trustee Board said: “Getting signal on the Elizabeth line is a game changer. It will massively benefit students at UCL and across London, many of whom commute to campus each day. Most importantly, the ability to make calls and access the internet during journeys across London will help improve students’ safety across the network.”

Michael Solomon Williams, Head of Campaigns at  Campaign for Better Transport said: “This is great news for Elizabeth line passengers who will benefit from expanded mobile coverage. Extending coverage across London’s underground network will make it much easier for people to keep connected and help passengers to navigate their sustainable journeys by Tube.”

The project is being implemented by Boldyn Networks, one of the world’s leading shared infrastructure providers, who was awarded a 20-year concession by TfL in June 2021 to deliver high speed, 5G-ready mobile connectivity across the entire London Underground network. Boldyn Networks, formerly BAI Communications, is installing a fibre backbone across the capital to improve connectivity both above and below ground, bringing wide reaching socio-economic benefits to local businesses and communities.

Around 500 people are working overnight across the Tube network to install mobile equipment, with all works needed to be tidied away before the network opens for customers every morning. Once fully delivered, more than 2,000 kilometres of cabling as well as thousands of radios are expected to be installed within tunnels and stations, all of which will be fitted outside of operational hours.