London Underground getting 4G connectivity in 2019

No more calls cut short or streaming drop outs for those looking to ride the tubes of London Underground. In 2019 the world-famous transport network will be getting 4G connectivity throughout.

Transport for London confirmed the timescale this week, following a successful trial on the one-stop Waterloo & City line in September of this year. Vodafone, O2, EE and Three all participated in the trial, giving hope that it'll be a cross-network initiative, rather than restricted to one carrier. 

The tube network already benefits from underground Wi-Fi, and while that was initially restricted to certain networks with Virgin Media handling the system, it's now widely available for free across all major carriers.

A smarter tube

"This is a brilliant initiative and part of our work to improve connectivity at home, in our high streets, public spaces and across the transport network," said London's Chief Digital Officer, Theo Blackwell.

"TfL's innovation shows we can make a real difference and benefit Londoners through using city-wide public assets in a smarter way, starting with the tube."

It's a well overdue introduction – while the depth, expansiveness and tightness of the tube network has made it a costly endeavour to undertake, it leaves the UK capital lagging behind the metro systems of other cities. Those riding the equivalent services in Berlin, Seoul, Shanghai and Tokyo can already enjoy full mobile coverage throughout their journeys.

TfL will begin the process of finding a contractor and operator for the service in the new year. The roll out will be gradual, though no word yet on which areas of the service are to benefit first.