Full coverage expected by 2019
Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, has announced plans to bring a full 4G network to the London Underground by 2019. The British capital is one of the few big cities in the world to give commuters access to a mobile network when below ground, with the likes of Paris, Tokyo, Seoul, and New York already connected.
A large portion of the London Underground stations already offer free Wi-Fi, powered through Virgin Media, but there are no connections in the many tunnels linking them.
Tests are likely to begin on the Waterloo and City Line, which is closed overnight, making it the ideal place for trials. Khan commented that he wants "mobile connectivity on the London Underground, both in stations and tunnels by 2019, future-proofed ready for 5G."
The dates sounds like they will happily coincide with the introduction of the Elizabeth Line, which is set to make its first journey in 2018, and to be completely by December 2019.
Not good news for all
However, what may sound exciting to some, has been met with divided opinions from others. Commentators have been quick to point out that the Underground network is the one remaining space of the capital detached from mobile signal and internet.
Opinions gathered by the Evening Standard have highlighted some commuter’s thoughts and grievances. James Horne writes: “It is unlikely that there will be many urgent calls made, and this is more likely to produce chat either side of you. Given that most people seem to regard their phones as megaphones, it will be a nightmare.
“We have managed all these years to be free of phones. Perhaps, for the sake of sanity, at least one carriage could be mobile-free?”
While David Reed says: “Almost all the phone calls I hear on buses are utterly unnecessary, and the inane ramblings that go on for a whole journey drive me wild — and probably most of the other passengers too.”
In other TfL news, there's a big update coming to the Oyster card. What do you think about the upcoming plans? Let us know in the comments below.