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TfL closer to offering mobile phone coverage on the Tube

Commuters could soon be able to make phone calls and surf the internet anywhere on the Tube network, it has been reported,

Currently, Virgin Media supplies wi-fi at station platforms, but this connection does not cover tunnels, meaning that passengers cannot connect to the internet when the trains are moving.

But today, the Financial Times has reported that TfL have been working with the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, and is in early talks with a number of companies wanting to bid for the contract to supply a mobile phone network to the Underground.

In a number of other cities across the world including Paris, Berlin, Tokyo and New York, similar systems are already in place, and London looks set to become the next place to have a fully connected metro.

Last year, TfL announced it was in similar talks with companies to deliver the network, but unfortunately none of the negotiations came to fruition.

A TfL spokesperson confirmed that: “We are keen to offer full mobile phone coverage for our customers. The introduction of this would need to be commercially viable and would follow engagement with staff and customers.”

Top Image: Tim Ireland PA Images

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Noam Bleicher   01/06/2017 at 10:13

If TfL can do this in tunnels, how come NR and the TOCs can't do the same for open countryside? It's clear the telecoms industry isn't interested in inter city railway routes, so the rail industry needs to step up and build an 'always on' mobile network, on railway lines away from towns and motorways. How about it, RDG?

Andrew Gwilt   01/06/2017 at 21:09

Icomera. They have installed wifi at all Greater Anglia stations and yes GA's wifi hardly work. O2 wifi is far more better.

Merseyferry   02/06/2017 at 12:29

Not a good idea rolling out Wi-Fi on LUL, the new stock can't cope with the current upgraded electronic technology at present due to power failures and traction related issues. Also it leaves a wide open door for terrorist and a BIG headache for our security teams.

Ben   02/06/2017 at 13:06

Essentially there are 4 solutions for onboard connectivity on underground trains (noting of course that platforms already have wifi): - lineside wifi provides reasonable data transfer rates at low vehicle speeds, but doesn't provide voice or 3G/4G data - train-to-ground high speed radios provide massive data throughput even on high speed trains, but is expensive & you don't get the voice 3G/4G data as per wifi - but you do get enough data to keep all passengers very happy, and this is probably the most futureproof option (as futureproof as this industry can get - call it a 12 year design life) - full mobile coverage is expensive, particularly in the small-bore deep tube tunnels. Providing constant coverage is difficult, and as a train is effectively a Farady cage, you need signals repeated inside the carriages, which again limits efficiency. TfL already uses leaky feeders, so I assume this would be how they would broadcast a mobile signal - Onboard content (similar to that offered by Virgin Trains on the WCML) allows the user to access pre-loaded onboard data, such as iplayer or sky news I get the security aspect too, as I'm quite sure TfL have considered & consulted on this. If you're curious about what is being developed & implemented elsewhere in Europe on undergrounds & metros, it's not the provision of a mobile phone signal - it's the train-to-ground radio system to give passengers data.

James Palma   02/06/2017 at 20:10

Fantastic!!! So not only do we have to hear people shouting to people on their phone on buses, dlr and main line trains, soon they can do it on the tube. And on the tube they will have to shout even louder. To be honest i dont know why some people yse mobiles at all because when they are talkingthem the person at the other end could hear them without it!!

Barry   03/06/2017 at 14:33

Totally agree with James Palma. Why on earth can people not go a few minutes without their extra ligament of a mobile phone. Tube journeys are generally quite short so why not just try and go without. It is absolutely pathetic and stupid today that people feel useless without technology prop! (don't forget to "Like" this on Facebook whilst you kill time ;0

Andrew JG   03/06/2017 at 23:32

The Cloud wifi is useless at most railway stations and I hate using The Cloud wifi all the time.

Jon   06/06/2017 at 22:23

So don't use it then.

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