Full 4G Coverage Is Coming To The Tube, Finally Erasing The Need For Human Interaction

RIP, ‘Sorry I’m just going into a tunn…’

…for full mobile signal is on its way to every last tube tunnel on the London Underground network.

Mayor Sadiq Khan has had this as a top priority over the past few years, and it’s been announced that by the end of 2024, the entire Tube network will boast 4G connectivity, finally removing the last refuge from that fun avalanche of beeps, alerts, and notifications that now plague our lives.

The pilot programme began in 2020 (after a pandemic-enforced delay), with the stretch of Jubilee line from Westminster to Canning Town the first to connect commuters across tunnels, platforms, and ticket halls. It was jolly exciting, so much so that the teams involved celebrated with a special roundel:

Coverage will arrive in fits and starts, with busier stations such as Oxford Circus, Tottenham Court Road, Camden Town, Euston, and Bank expected to be fully connected by the end of 2022. Additionally, Crossrail has long been expected to have it, although I think we should just agree to not talk about that for now. What will Tottenham Court Road get first: 4G underground or the Elizabeth Line? It’s anyone’s guess!

Bringing 4G to the Tube was a second-term promise for Sadiq Khan, so with his re-election as Mayor of London in the rear view mirror, he’s now setting about to make good on the bargain. Household names Three and EE will be helping deliver connection to all Londoners using the tube. TfL also hope Vodafone and O2 will be along for the ride, with a Vodafone spokesperson confirming that talks are progressing well.

This comes after communications giant BAI Communications, were previously announced with a twenty-year contract to help run 4G and 5G on the line, and the end of 2024 has been set as the date for Total 4G. In the meantime, ancient incantations and other heretofore banned magic of the night will bring this dark technological wizardry deep beneath the ground.

Basically this, but with phones instead of actual papers.

Mayor Sadiq Khan said: “I’m delighted to see Three and EE sign up as the first operators to provide full high-speed 4G access across the Tube network.

“This will make a huge difference to passengers, allowing them to make calls, read emails and check travel information while on the move.”

In any event, this spells doom for the last remaining obvious time to read a book, just have a think about things, or stare aimlessly at the floor – say hello to refreshing Instagram, Facebook and Twitter on repeat for another 25 – 30 minutes! Hey, at least with us all gazing into our screens, it’ll be easier than ever to avoid eye contact…

Also published on Medium.