London Underground and TfL


Successful trial means Tube on track for 4G coverage by 2019

The Tube network will see 4G connectivity arrive in 2019, TfL has confirmed, meaning mayor Sadiq Khan’s original ambitions will be able to go ahead.

The news comes following a successful trial of the technology on the Waterloo & City line, where 4G technology was tested in tunnels and stations along the line in the summer.

All four major mobile network operators were involved in the design of the trial, with two carrying out testing within the tunnels outside of customer hours.

The trial tested making mobile data calls from one station to another without losing reception, and allowed TfL to practice laying new fibre cables within stations and tunnels.

Following the trial, all active test equipment was removed from the stations and tunnels.

Theo Blackwell, London’s chief digital officer, called the initiative brilliant, adding: “TfL’s innovation shows we can make a real difference and benefit Londoners through using city-wide public assets in a smarter way, starting with the Tube.”

Commercial director of TfL Graeme Craig added: “The success of this trial shows that we are on track to unlock one of the UK's most high-profile not-spots and deliver 4G mobile coverage throughout our tunnels and Tube stations.

“This is great news for our customers and will also help us generate vital commercial income to reinvest in modernising and improving transport in London.”

TfL began early market engagement with suitable service providers in September this year in order to better understand how a 4G mobile network could be introduced across the Tube.

The engagement, which received 22 responses, is being used as part of its business case for its telecoms commercialisation strategy.

Tendering for a service provider will begin in the New Year with a Standard Selection Questionnaire, allowing for a service partner to be brought on board by next summer, with the first stations connected from 2019.

Also as part of its digital strategy, TfL is looking into the possibility of collecting anonymised customer data via wi-fi in order to map out passenger flows through the network and better understand how people navigate the Underground. Its chief data officer, Lauren Sager Weinstein, wrote about this ambition in the latest edition of RTM.

Main Photo: william87

Have you got a story to tell? Would you like to become an RTM columnist? If so, click here.


Ian Watkins   27/11/2017 at 12:56

Some of us like somewhere to escape a mobile signal :-) Now we can look forward to people bellowing "I'm on the Tube" Such is progress :-)

Twdiscussed   27/11/2017 at 13:36

The seating in the photograph looks comfortable. Which Tube line is it? Or is it that the woman is using a 4G-enabled tablet?

James Miller   27/11/2017 at 15:04

Crossrail is saying that 4G will be available in the Class 345 trains.I'm not sure whether it is installed yet, as there is always a good signal on the trains between Liverpool Street and Shenfield. But, I was getting a serious good signal on one of Greater Anglia's Mark 3 coaches in the middle of nowhere. 4G is definitely coming!

Andrew Gwilt   27/11/2017 at 20:44

At least it’s better than relying on Wifi. As most stations have free wifi for passengers to check if their trains are running on time and the staff would find useful information on whether trains have been delayed or disruptions on the railway that affects passengers. 4G will soon take over and it will improve the reliability of its services for passengers to access the internet much quicker without any problems.

IC2000   29/11/2017 at 19:48

4g may be better, (sometimes) faster and more importantly more reliable than WiFi but it is not free at the point of use which WiFi generally is.

Add your comment


rail technology magazine tv

more videos >

latest rail news

Union to continue with controversial four-day Easter Weekend strike

16/03/2018Union to continue with controversial four-day Easter Weekend strike

Union members working for South Western Railway (SWR) are to go through with a four-day strike running across both bank holidays over the Easter ... more >
NR slapped with £730,000 fine for Gloucester freight derailment

16/03/2018NR slapped with £730,000 fine for Gloucester freight derailment

Network Rail has been ordered to pay £733,000 fines after a court found that its failure to adequately maintain track had caused a freight ... more >
Network Rail sees more than £200m in retail sales in Q4 2017

15/03/2018Network Rail sees more than £200m in retail sales in Q4 2017

Retail sales at Network Rail managed stations grew by 3.5% in the final quarter of 2017, it was revealed today. Between April and December 2017 ... more >

editor's comment

23/01/2018Out with the old...

Despite a few disappointing policy announcements, especially for the electrification aficionados amongst us, 2017 was, like Darren Caplan writes on page 20, a year generally marked by positive news for the rail industry. We polished off the iconic Ordsall Chord (p32), hit some solid milestones on Thameslink (p40), progressed on ambitious rolling stock orders (p16), and finally started moving forward on HS2 (p14) ‒ paving the way for a New Ye... read more >

last word

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

This summer, Arriva Group's CrossCountry and the Scout Association joined to launch a new partnership to promote rail safety among young people. Chris Leech MBE, business community manager at the... more > more last word articles >

'the sleepers' daily blog

How can UK rail become a global leader?

06/03/2018How can UK rail become a global leader?

Alison Dervis, EY director, explains why more diverse thinking, innovation and industry collaboration will help deliver transformative change to the railway industry. From late Georgian steam engines, to the multibillion-pound civil engineering projects of modern day, Britain’s railw... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >


Smart Ticketing: The way ahead

13/03/2018Smart Ticketing: The way ahead

Jacqueline Starr, managing director of customer experience at the Rail Delivery Group (RDG), runs through the nationwide progress in rolling out ... more >
A benchmark year for HS2

13/03/2018A benchmark year for HS2

Jim Crawford, managing director of Phase 1 at HS2 Ltd, discusses the many critical activities set to take place this year as the mammoth high-spe... more >
The North has a plan

13/03/2018The North has a plan

There has always been an incredible thirst for change in the north. Now, there is finally a plan robust and forward-thinking enough to make it ha... more >
EWR: Getting it right

13/03/2018EWR: Getting it right

Peter Austin, delivery director at East West Rail Company (EWRco), argues that completing the link between Oxford and Cambridge as quickly as pos... more >

rail industry focus

  • 08/12/2017A game changer for Midland Metro

    The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) updates RTM’s Luana Salles on the latest projects taking place across the growing Midland Metro...
  • 09/11/2017Testing tomorrow's technology today

    David Brazier, site manager and area sales manager for the UK & Ireland at OMICRON electronics, tells RTM’s Luana Salles about the major...
  • 09/11/2017What next for safety?

    As rail businesses edge towards their target of zero injuries, improving safety performance can plateau. Amey’s sector director for rail, Lee...
View all News


Union to continue with controversial four-day Easter Weekend strike

16/03/2018Union to continue with controversial four-day Easter Weekend strike

Union members working for South Western Railway (SWR) are to go through with a four-day strike running across both bank holidays over the Easter ... more >