The London Underground already has Wi-Fi but, let’s face it, things aren’t exactly ideal. Wi-Fi signals are limited to stations themselves, meaning you’re not able to load up the latest social media posts or reply to messages when you’re blitzing through the nexus of underground tunnels in the capital.
The UK’s biggest mobile networks are looking to change that though. Starting from today, EE, Three Mobile, Vodafone and O2 are bringing 4G to the Underground in a new trial.
Limited to the Jubilee Line for now – between Canning Town and Westminster – the service will, theoretically at least, allow you to surf the web, reply to WhatsApp messages and more whenever you want, not just when you’re docked at a station.
The timing of the trial certainly isn’t ideal. The UK Government has advised Britons to work from home where possible as the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to spread in the country and various other territories across the globe.
Although the 4G connectivity is somewhat limited at the moment, the plan is to have the entire Jubilee line covered by the end of 2020.
Additionally, it’s also forecast the entire London Underground could have 4G by the middle of next year.
Commenting on the launch of the initiative, Derek McManus, COO of O2, said: “We’re the UK’s number one network and we’re excited to be taking our award winning 4G connectivity underground into London’s tube network. Not only will the project bring much needed service to commuters across London – it will also mean thousands of fans travelling to The O2 for the best live entertainment events in the UK will now be able to share their experiences with friends and family, before and after a show.
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“We’re proud to be working with TfL and other mobile network operators to bring connectivity to where our customers need it most and we are excited to see the future potential of this project as it expands across the tube network.”
Marc Allera, CEO of BT’s Consumer Division, added: “This is a big step for both connectivity, and for London. We’re looking forward to seeing how our customers use 4G on the Underground – it’s a big step forward for keeping entertained, and keeping in touch. We know how valuable that is, and this switch on aims to pave the way for a wider rollout across the Underground.”
David Dyson, CEO of Three UK, stated: “We want to help people stay connected and make the most of their daily commute, enjoying their favourite shows, talking to friends or just getting a head start on the working day. Every year, the average London commuter spends two weeks on the tube travelling to and from work, so there’s a huge opportunity for us to help people reclaim that valuable time.”
If you’re on EE, Three Mobile, Vodafone or O2, you can take advantage of 4G on the Jubilee line from Canning Town to Westminster right now.