UK operator EE is now piping in 5G to Archway and Tufnell Park on the Northern line, and Notting Hill Gate on the Central line.

‘Continuous 5G coverage’ from ticket halls to platforms is promised at Archway, Tufnell Park and Notting Hill Gate, while it is also available within the tunnel segment at Notting Hill Gate and this will be replicated in Archway and Tufnell Park shortly.

These stations already have 4G coverage, and 4G and 5G is set to be switched on at various additional stations throughout the year. Ultimately EE plans to roll-out mobile coverage across the entirety of the London Underground network, as well as the Elizabeth line, by the end of 2024 and other operators are of course working on doing the same.

It’s made possible through BAI’s multi-carrier network which connects London Underground’s stations and tunnels to each other and to the outside world. Operator’s mobile networks then plug in to the BAI infrastructure via some Nokia AirScale base stations.

“We’re proud to bring 5G coverage to the London Underground for the first time, maintaining our position at the forefront of what is a hugely important and transformative project for the city,” said Greg McCall, Chief Networks Officer at BT. “It’s also a further demonstration of our ambition to deliver 5G connectivity anywhere in the UK by 2028, as we continue to make great progress in our efforts to build an unbeatable 5G network.”

Theo Blackwell MBE, London’s Chief Digital Officer added: “It’s great to see super high-speed 5G mobile connectivity now available at a number of Tube stations, proving that the state-of-the-art technology being installed across the network is already future-proofed and adaptable for the next generation of mobile signal.

“The Mayor committed to Londoners that we would deliver 4G throughout the Tube network as part of his determination to build a better London for everyone and today marks the latest step forward as we work to improve digital connectivity at home, in our high streets, public spaces and across the transport network.”

Once the operators or TFL is able to pronounce that you can now connect seamlessly on the entire London Underground network that will certainly be handy, as anyone who has had their music or podcast stream rudely interrupted as they descend into the depths of the tube will attest to.

However it seems to be being deployed a bit piecemeal – though perhaps for very good technical reasons – and layering on 5G on top of 4G in a few stations when other stations don’t have anything does limit its usefulness somewhat. If people are nipping around London on the tube, they are unlikely to keep a mental note in their heads which stations have mobile connectivity and which don’t. Still, progress is progress.

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