Mayor sets out next phase of 4G and 5G across the Tube network as first West End stations go live
- High-speed mobile coverage now available in ticket halls and Central line between Oxford Circus and Tottenham Court Road, with further sections of the Northern and Central line getting coverage in coming months
- First Elizabeth line stations to go live by end of the year, with all stations and tunnelled sections getting coverage by the end of Spring 2024
- Coverage will also now be expanded to provide uninterrupted high-speed mobile connectivity on the Docklands Light Railway and between Highbury & Islington and New Cross on the London Overground within the next two years
- Progress means that a significant proportion of the entire Tube network will have 4G and 5G mobile coverage by the end of 2024
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, today set out the next phase of the introduction of high-speed mobile coverage across the Tube network as the first stations in the West End got 4G and 5G mobile coverage.
This morning, customers using the Central line between Oxford Circus and Tottenham Court Road are the latest to benefit from 4G and 5G coverage in the ticket hall, on escalators and on Central line platforms – keeping them connected as they travel to and from the West End to shop, meet friends and visit the area’s theatres, restaurants and bars. Coverage has also been introduced to the Northern line platforms at Tottenham Court Road.
All four mobile network operators – Three UK, EE, Vodafone, and Virgin Media O2 (VMO2) – are taking part in the rollout, which has already delivered 4G on sections of the Jubilee, Northern and Central lines. By the end of the year, 33 stations with platforms that are underground, and therefore usually unable to get a mobile signal, as well as connecting tunnels, will have mobile coverage, increasing to more than 40 stations by Spring 24.
The introduction of 4G and 5G mobile coverage across the Tube network is being delivered for the Mayor of London and Transport for London (TfL) by Boldyn Networks*, and is seeing high-speed mobile coverage provided within stations and tunnelled sections of the Tube network, allowing customers to get the latest travel information, access social media, check their emails, make calls, and stream videos while passing through the station.
Providing uninterrupted mobile coverage also provides additional reassurance to those travelling on the network and will make it easier for customers to contact friends and family while travelling. It will also host the new Emergency Services Network (ESN), which when fully operational, will give first responders immediate access to life-saving data, images and information in live situations and emergencies on the frontline.
The rollout to Oxford Circus and Tottenham Court Road follows Camden Town and Mornington Crescent stations getting high-speed mobile coverage last month. Customers using the Charing Cross branch of the Northern line at Euston station will also get 4G and 5G coverage in the coming weeks – benefitting those arriving to the city from Liverpool, Manchester, Milton Keynes and Crewe who then change to the Tube to complete their journey
In the coming months, further stations along the Northern and Central lines such as Goodge Street, Chancery Lane and Bank will get mobile coverage, helping the millions of visitors who come to Central London and in particular the West End every year better navigate the capital. Boldyn will also be progressing work to introduce mobile coverage to the southern end of the Northern line, with the first sections going live during Summer 24. The Mayor also confirmed today that the first stations on the Elizabeth line to benefit from high-speed mobile coverage will be Bond Street, Tottenham Court Road, Farringdon and Liverpool Street. These stations will be live by the end of the year, with all stations and tunnelled sections getting 4G coverage by the end of Spring 2024.
As well as bringing mobile coverage to more stations in the coming months, Boldyn Networks will also begin to upgrade the existing coverage on the Jubilee line to allow 5G to be available at stations, such as Canary Wharf and North Greenwich, for the first time. Given the progress made, the Mayor, TfL and Boldyn have also now agreed a deal to extend mobile coverage to the Docklands Light Railway and the London Overground between Highbury & Islington and New Cross.
This means that 5G coverage will be delivered on top of 4G coverage, and will be extended to the Elizabeth line, DLR and London Overground as well as the Tube. TfL expects a significant proportion of the entire Tube network (around 80 per cent of stations across the network) and the Elizabeth line, to have mobile coverage by the end of 2024.
Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, said: “I am delighted to see the promise I made of delivering 4G and 5G across the London Underground continuing to progress, with West End hubs Oxford Circus and Tottenham Court Road joining an ever-growing network of line and stations with full connectivity. This means Londoners and visitors can now access the latest travel information or social media, check their emails, make calls, and stream videos whilst on the move underground. Growing numbers of underground Tube stations now have 4G and 5G services, with many more to come as we continue to build a better London for everyone.”
Andy Lord, London’s Transport Commissioner said: “It’s great to see the first Tube stations in the West End getting high-speed mobile coverage on their phones within the station, as part of the next stage of our project with Boldyn Networks to bring 4G and 5G to the whole Tube network. We are committed to delivering this programme which will allow customers to be more connected underground and get the latest travel information and news, as well as stay in contact with work, friends and families while travelling on our network. More stations, including the first Elizabeth line stations, will be connected in the coming months and we remain committed to having a significant proportion of the entire Tube network connected by the end of 2024.”
Billy D’Arcy, CEO of Boldyn Networks in UK&I, said: “We are incredibly proud of the successful launch of high-speed mobile coverage at London’s first West End Tube stations. This achievement is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our team and our valued partners, the Mayor of London and TfL. We are excited to bring cutting-edge 4G and 5G connectivity to the entire Tube network, empowering millions of commuters and tourists to stay connected while travelling through these iconic stations. We look forward to continuing to bring mobile coverage to even more stations, making a lasting impact on the way people experience public transport in the capital.”
Dee Corsi, Chief Executive of the New West End Company said: “In today’s world an uninterrupted connection is an expected part of any visitor experience. It is great to see that even more visitors travelling here on the Tube network will now be able to plan their trip whilst on route, and then jump onto our super-fast, free street Wi-Fi on arrival. The younger shopper in particular is taking full advantage of our West End street Wi-Fi to save using their own data.”
Currently more than ten per cent of Tube stations with platforms that are underground, and therefore usually unable to get a mobile signal, now have 4G and 5G mobile coverage. When combined with sections of the Tube which are above ground, this means that around 60 per cent of the whole network has mobile coverage.
The project is being implemented by Boldyn Networks, one of the world’s leading neutral host network 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 backbone of connectivity 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.
Initial testing will also shortly begin on the Bakerloo, Victoria, Piccadilly lines ahead of the installation of technology along these lines to allow 4G and 5G to start being introduced on these lines later this year. Mobile coverage will be introduced at additional platforms at Oxford Circus, as well as other interchange stations, as works on those lines progress.
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Notes to Editors
* On 26 June 2023, BAI Communications rebranded as Boldyn Networks – see here
List of latest Underground stations with existing mobile coverage with all four mobile operators:
- Central line – Holland Park, Notting Hill Gate, Queensway, Oxford Circus (Central line only), Tottenham Court Road (Central and Northern lines only)
- Northern line – Archway, Tufnell Park, Kentish Town (station closed from 26 June 2023 due to engineering works, but 4G will still be provided to platforms for passing trains), Camden Town, Mornington Crescent
- Jubilee line – Westminster, Waterloo (Jubilee line only) Southwark, London Bridge (Jubilee line only), Bermondsey, Canada Water, Canary Wharf, North Greenwich
The wider Connected London programme being delivered by TfL and Boldyn will also see the installation of digital infrastructure across the capital, forming a backbone of connectivity. A full-fibre network will connect to buildings and street assets, like traffic lights and lampposts, and leverage the power of 5G and the Internet of Things to drive forward London’s ambition to become a truly smart city – see here.
While work remains on track for a significant proportion of the entire Tube network to have 4G and 5G mobile coverage by the end of 2024, there may be some sections of the Tube where work will continue throughout 2025/26 to fully introduce coverage within stations and tunnels. This work will be primarily be on some sections outside of Central London, sections of the Circle and District line where a number of stations already have limited mobile coverage due to being closer to the surface, as well as where smaller tunnelled sections need to be treated individually.