Three and EE first to agree London Tube network deal

Three and EE first to agree London Tube network deal

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Three and EE have announced they have joined the BAI Communications network to provide 4G and 5G mobile connectivity across the London Underground.

The deal between the network operators and BAI was awarded a 20-year concession with transport for London (TfL) to deliver mobile connectivity on the underground and will provide customers with network access whilst on the Tube and within stations.

All mobile operators will be able to access the London Underground Wi-Fi and 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, according to the operators, which will allow for “seamless” upgrades in the future.

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 added: “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.”

While Vodafone have not yet signed up with the BAI, a spokesperson for the operator said: “We’re excited about bringing 4G to the London Underground after the successful trials of the last few years – negotiations have progressed well, and we expect to sign up with BAI next month.”

Work at some of London’s busiest stations including Oxford Circus, Tottenham Court Road, Bank, Euston and Camden is already underway and those stations will become some of the first to be connected by the end of 2022.

All stations across the Tube network are due to have high quality mobile coverage by the end of 2024.

Progress is continuing 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.

Plans are in motion for 4G connectivity to begin to be introduced for customers on both the trains and platforms during 2022.

BAI says it anticipates investing more than £1 billion 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 to connect buildings and street assets such as traffic lights and lampposts “to leverage the power of 5G and the Internet of Things”.