No more reading the same advert twelve times in order to avoid eye contact with the person sat opposite you. No more reading the Metro’s Showbiz section just so that you don’t have to even think about making conversation with your fellow tube travellers.
This is news that will make less sociable tube users (all tube users) rejoice. 4G mobile internet is coming to the underground.
TfL trialled the technology during the summer of this year on the Waterloo & City line that runs between Waterloo and Bank. The trial was successful.
As O2 COO Derek McManus said: “The demand for ubiquitous, fast mobile connectivity is unquestionable. People expect to have connectivity wherever they are and, by increasing connectivity on the Tube, people will be able to get more out of their journey time. Trials such as these are vital in laying the foundations for customers, especially commuters, to have seamless connectivity on the go.”
O2 is one of four operators involved that were involved in the Waterloo & City line trial, along with Vodafone, EE and Three. All four helped design the trial, and Vodafone and O2 tested functionality inside tunnels.
TfL Director of Commercial Development Graeme Craig said: “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 will start tendering for a service provider to manage the underground 4G network at the start of 2018, and it is hoped that by 2019, it will be fully operational .