British mobile providers Three and EE are the first networks to reach an agreement regarding 4G and 5G coverage across the whole London Underground. The carriers have reached a deal with infrastructure provider BAI Communications, which is currently building out a network across the Tube as part of a 20-year concession with Transport for London. Three's and EE's deal will give customers access to mobile data within the stations and while on the Tube.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan said in a statement:
"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."
London's Underground network has offered WiFi connectivity for almost a decade, but it's only available to customers of certain carriers on certain platforms. Earlier this year, Transport for London chose BAI Communications to build out a mobile network spanning all stations and tunnels, allowing commuters to check emails, watch videos and do everything else online on 4G or 5G even while they're inside metal tubes underground.
BAI has already started building the network at some of London's busiest stations, including Oxford Circus, Tottenham Court Road, Bank, Euston and Camden Town. They'll be the first to allow 4G and 5G connectivity by the end of 2022. City authorities expect the network to be completed and for the whole of London Underground to have mobile coverage by the end of 2024.