Three and EE to provide Tube-wide connectivity

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Three and EE have agreed a deal to join the BAI Communications (BAI) network that will provide 4G (and later 5G) connectivity across the London Tube.

Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, said: “I’m delighted to see Three and EE sign up as the first operators to provide full high-speed 4G access across the tube network. This will make a huge difference to passengers, allowing them to make calls, read emails and check travel information while on the move.

“Investing in London’s connectivity and digital infrastructure is one important way we are helping to stimulate our city’s economy. It also represents a significant step towards ensuring the whole Tube network has 5G-ready mobile coverage.”

Vodafone says that it expects to sign up to join BAI’s network next month.

“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,” said a Vodafone spokesperson.

BAI was awarded a 20-year contract with Transport for London (TfL) back in June to deliver multi-carrier infrastructure enabling mobile operators to provide continuous coverage to their customers across London underground stations and tunnels. The project is said to be the most advanced and largest infrastructure project of its type in the world.

Billy D’Arcy, CEO of BAI Communications UK, commented:

“We are proud to be helping TfL and other customers develop connectivity solutions that have a positive impact on how citizens live and work and contribute towards smart city development.

Our extensive credentials delivering large-scale connected infrastructure and networking solutions position us perfectly to support mobile operators to deliver technological innovation and capitalise on the fast-growing commercial appeal of 5G solutions and smart city applications.

The networks we design and build keep people and communities connected and engaged, as will be the result of TfL’s Connected London program and BAI’s contribution to it.”

While EE and Three’s customers will be the first to access continuous mobile coverage, anyone will be able to access the London Underground WiFi.

Dr. Amy Hochadel, Director at Connected Places Catapult, said: “Technology offers solutions to many of the challenges that cities face today, and high-speed mobile connectivity is critical to ensuring that innovation can scale up to enable improvements in all aspects of life, from city planning and management to productivity and sustainability.

“This announcement is such exciting news for London, accelerating its smart city journey and establishing a framework that should be the foundation for all global cities striving to be digitally inclusive and improve the lives of its citizens.”

BAI has begun work at some of London’s busiest stations, including Oxford Circus, Tottenham Court Road, Bank, Euston, and Camden Town. They are expected to among the first to be connected by the end of next year.

All stations and tunnels across the Tube network are set to benefit from uninterrupted coverage by the end of 2024.

Update: Added a statement from a Vodafone spokesperson about the operator’s plan to join the BAI network.

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