London Tube Trains to get 4G and WiFi(02 Jun 2017, BWCS Staff)
London Underground trains are to get full on-board WiFi coverage starting this year, according to reports in this morning’s papers. The UK capital has lagged behind other major global cities in offering only WiFi at platforms. In contrast, passengers on subway systems in Moscow, New York, Seoul, Berlin, Paris, Toronto and Tokyo are able to maintain mobile calls and WiFi connections all along their journey.
Transport for London is to invite telecoms operators and other suppliers to bid for an infrastructure contract, say the Guardian and the BBC. Among those likely to be interested are Virgin Media, which operates the current station-only WiFi and BAI Communications, Fluidmesh and RADWIN which all have previous form in setting up high-speed wireless networks underground. Other interested parties are likely to include McLaren, WiFi Rail, British Telecom, which owns EE and Openreach, which is a subsidiary of British Telecom.
Announcing the plans Transport for London said: "We are keen to offer full mobile phone coverage for our customers. The introduction of this would need to be commercially viable and would follow engagement with staff and customers."
It is understood that the WiFi on board will be free to access but that there will be some advertising content that commuters will see the first time they connect to the service and following connection each time they board a train. According to The Refinery which has reviewed Twitter conversations on the subject, Londoners seem "divided over whether it's a good thing or not, with many saying they dread having to listen to others' tedious phone calls."
Once the underground is fully connected this will meet London Mayor Sadiq Khan's manifesto pledge. The Labour Party politician stated his aim to have the underground fully connected when elected in 2016.