Mobile coverage is to be rolled out across the London Underground network following the award of a 20-year concession to BAI Communications.
Transport for London says the first stations in central London will go live by the end of 2022, with coverage across the tube network by the end of 2024. It follows a pilot scheme on the eastern half of the Jubilee Line between Westminster and Canning Town, on which 4G coverage has been provided since March 2020. BAI will adopt the pilot section and upgrade any assets to its proposed network-wide design.
The concession will see a backbone of mobile and digital connectivity established across London. Tube tunnels will be used to provide full fibre connectivity across the city, which can then be connected to buildings and street assets such as street lighting and bus stops.
TfL says BAI has significant experience deploying communications networks in other cities, and the infrastructure in London will be 5G-ready. The project will involve the installation of more than 2,000km of cabling, which will be fitted outside operating hours, and installation work is already underway on the Jubilee and Victoria Lines and on the Northern Line extension to Battersea. The concession arrangement is also expected to generate additional revenue for TfL.