Passengers could soon see the start of decent mobile signal on the London Underground as Transport for London (TfL) prepare for bids following the Thursday 8 June general election.
It’s long been a bugbear for the millions of commuters who use the Tube every day that while WiFi is available on the platforms of most stations, once trains are on the move, that signal drops to nothing.
And as other public transport ramp up their WiFi coverage, the venerable Tube risks being left in the Dark Ages.
This move by TfL would mean passengers could finally make phone calls and access the internet while trains are in tunnels.
There’s not a huge amount of detail out there about the technology behind the decision but it’s understood providers want to provide 4G coverage as soon as possible.
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.- Spokesperson, TFL
A handful of companies are already interested, according to the Financial Times, including BAI Communications, Wireless Infrastructure Group and Arqiva.
If that last company looks familiar, it might be because mast-owners Arqiva shocked the market at the start of 2017 by saying it had a 5G trial with Samsung in the works.
London is well behind its international neighbours in getting mobile signal on public transport: commuters in Paris, New York and Berlin have been able to get online on their mobile since the late 2000s.
But talks between TfL and telecoms providers have failed in the past.
Now it’s time for London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan to take advantage of this wider push for better infrastructure. More details are expected to come out after Thursday, so watch this space.
MAIN IMAGE: By Zen Whisk via Flickr