Commuters could soon be making calls on the London Underground as TfL ramps up plans for mobile reception

Rebecca Smith
TfL plans to ring in the changes on the London Underground
TfL plans to ring in the changes on the London Underground (Source: Getty)

You could soon be able to make and take calls anywhere on the Tube network, as Transport for London (TfL) plans to get mobile reception underground are soon to get underway.

While Wi-Fi is available across most platforms, the service cuts out between stations. Bringing coverage to the tunnels would mean travellers can make calls and browse the internet anywhere on the London Underground.

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The Financial Times reports that TfL and the mayor of London will invite bids from telecoms groups after the General Election on 8 June, to supply the capital's transport network with uninterrupted mobile coverage.

Three people familiar with the plans said a "number of companies were vying for the work", according to the FT.

A TfL spokesperson 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.”

Similar offerings are already in place on the metro systems in New York, Berlin, Paris and Tokyo, but London hasn't yet rolled out something similar though it has been on the agenda for a while. Part of the challenge has been the technical difficulties involved with the London Underground's deep, and narrow, tunnels.

Last summer, TfL was in early talks with several potential providers, but those did not come to fruition.

And in 2015, TfL and Virgin Media completed a project to install Wi-Fi internet at the majority of Tube stations around the capital.

At the end of 2015 it was found that around 500,000, tablets and laptops connected every day to the network downloading some 20 terabytes of data – up seven-fold on 2014.

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