The first stretch of tunnelling to get 4G connectivity will be on the Jubilee line. A confirmed partnership with O2, EE and other providers will result in a trial running run from Westminster to Canning Town. It should allow for mobile phone data use through tunnels and on platforms in that part of the network.
Ticket halls and corridors in stations in the launch zone will also be covered by 4G signals, with the exception of London Bridge and Waterloo, which will be added later in the year.
“The pilot will allow us to continue working hand in hand with TfL, and other network operators, to bring connectivity to commuters across London,” said the COO of O2, Derek McManus.
“This unique collaboration builds on the recent announcement of the Shared Rural Network, showing how the telecommunications industry is spearheading a more connected, mobile Britain.”
TfL claims that the trial period will give valuable insight to data use and demand, for mobile operators to understand what is required for a wider rollout. The tender to build and maintain the complete network will then open, with the final contract to be awarded by summer 2020.
At present, Virgin Media supplies the Wi-Fi connectivity in 260 London Underground stations - which it first installed in 2012. This will continue and complement mobile connectivity when that is also introduced.