The London metro will get 4G access in its tunnels and stations from next year. The rollout starts with the eastern half of the Jubilee line between Westminster and Canning Town stations in March 2020, and the plan is to connect the entire network by the middle of the next decade. In addition to 4G, the system also offers passengers the option to connect via 2G and 3G.
The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has suggested that the network can be upgraded to 5G in the future. "Introducing 4G and, in the future, 5G helps Londoners and visitors to stay in touch and get the latest travel information while on the move," Khan said.
London will not be the first city to install mobile data connections in an underground metro network. Passengers on the Moscow and Tokyo metro systems, for example, have been able to use their phones underground for years. However, The Guardian notes that the London metro system is particularly challenging due to the relatively narrow and winding tunnels that can block telephone signals. Transport for London is planning to use what is known as leaking feeders to solve this problem, using cables that can transmit signals such as giant antennas.
The system allows telephone signs to penetrate the tunnels of the transport network. Currently, the only available connectivity is underground WiFi in the stations themselves. The New York City metro has only been offering WiFi and mobile connections at stations since 2017.