Mobile operator EE has announced that it has upgraded its new 4G mobile network on the London Underground with the latest ultra-fast 5G-based mobile broadband, which will initially only work at three stations – Archway and Tufnell Park (Northern Line). also Notting Hill Gate (Central Line).
Just to summarize. The deployment reflects a partnership with BAI Communications. BAI currently has a 20-year concession agreement with Transport for London (TfL), which was signed in 2021. in June (here) and allows them to build new 4G infrastructure and then wholesale it to mobile network operators (MNOs) for use. The goal is by 2024. cover the entire London Underground (ticket halls, platforms and tunnels) by the end of the year.
The initial 4G network has already been rolled out on the east side of the Jubilee Line, and late last year they added six more stations including Holland Park, Notting Hill Gate, Queensway, Archway, Tufnell Park and Kentish Town. As above, some of these have now been upgraded to support 5G connectivity.
As well as continuous 5G coverage from the ticket hall to the platform at all three stations, 5G is also available in the tunnel segment at Notting Hill Gate, with Archway and Tufnell Park soon to follow. “This will allow passengers to communicate with friends and colleagues or stream content without interruption” said EE (to be fair.. a good 4G connection would also cover it).
Greg McCall, BT’s Chief Networks Officer, said:
“We are proud to be delivering 5G coverage on the London Underground for the first time, maintaining our position at the forefront of a project that is so important and transformative for the city. This is also another of our ambitions until 2028. a demonstration of delivering 5G connectivity anywhere in the UK as we continue to make great progress in building an unrivaled 5G network.
In the near future, the 5G upgrade will be extended to the tunnels surrounding each station as part of the ongoing EE and BAI rollout, and in 2023. and later 4G and 5G will reach many new stations. However, we would expect to see similar reports from competing operators who all use the same infrastructure.
Notably, EE’s mobile network connects to BAI’s infrastructure via mobile base stations from the Nokia AirScale radio access portfolio powered by the new ReefShark System-on-Chip (SoC). Nokia supplies and installs equipment, activates and validates the infrastructure for EE’s mobile services.