Hot on the heels of O2 announcing that it had switched on 5G in parts of the London Underground, Vodafone has just made a similar announcement – except where O2 was making its first 5G steps below the streets, Vodafone already had 5G in some parts of the Tube network.
Now though, it has more than before, having just brought 5G to the Archway and Tufnell Park stations on the Northern line.
This follows on from Notting Hill Gate station, and the tunnels from Holland Park to Queensway on the Central line, where Vodafone already offers 5G, as well as various other Northern line and Central line stations which currently have 4G coverage from Vodafone.
This is just the start though, as Vodafone claims that further London Underground stations will get 5G in the coming months. Indeed, its plans are ambitious, with Andrea Dona, Vodafone’s UK Chief Network Officer, saying:
“Bringing coverage to underground locations such as the Tube is always going to be a challenge, but we continue at pace with both our 5G and our ongoing 4G programmes. We will not stop until we have ensured customers can enjoy the benefits of connectivity wherever they travel on the Tube across the capital.”
A common goal
But Three, EE and O2 all have similar goals, and it’s likely that their progress will be similar too, as they’re all reliant on infrastructure from BAI Communications – so as 5G capable infrastructure from BAI gets installed in more parts of the London Underground, the UK’s networks will likely bring their 5G services to those tunnels and stations shortly after.
So far they’re not all doing so on an identical time frame, with EE switching on 5G in the London Underground slightly ahead of Three and Vodafone, on February 1, while O2 came last in mid-March. But that only makes for a month and a half gap between the first of them and the last, and we wouldn’t think the gap will get much bigger as improvements to coverage are made either.
If all goes to plan, that should mean mobile connectivity is available everywhere on the Underground on all these networks by around the end of 2024, with 5G specifically available in large swathes of it.