Capita has worked with Transport for London (TfL) to deliver the first publicly available 2G, 3G and 4G mobile service on the London Underground which launches to customers today at 11am.
This significant project is TfL’s first step toward addressing one of the UK’s high-profile mobile ‘not-spots’, along the London Underground, it will enable the public to make voice calls and access data services while travelling.
The pilot project covers the tunnels along the Jubilee Line between Westminster and Canning Town and the platforms from Westminster to North Greenwich. Ticket halls and corridors within stations are also covered, except for London Bridge and Waterloo stations where the service will be solely available on their Jubilee Line platforms.
Capita has played an instrumental role in the delivery of this project working in partnership with TfL and subcontractors, Nokia and Installation Technology, to design, build and operate the new network.
Capita has been responsible for the management of the project, which was a significant engineering challenge. Capita has had to carefully manage up to 300 operatives a day installing the necessary infrastructure for the new network to function along the Jubilee Line, while minimising any disruption to the London Underground’s five million daily passengers.
The network works by routing the mobile signals from the UK’s major mobile network operators EE, O2, Three UK and Vodafone, to servers situated in a purpose-built room. The signal is then disseminated to the other stations along the line via radio transmitters on the platforms and along the tunnels through ‘leaky feeder’ antennae – which emit a mobile signal. Combined, this delivers a ‘neutral host’ mobile network accessible to customers.
Capita will continue to have responsibility for operating the network over the lifecycle of the pilot project.
Jon Lewis, Capita Chief Executive Officer, said: “I’m very proud of the role that Capita is playing in helping TfL deliver the Tube’s first publicly available mobile phone service. From today, between Westminster and Canning Town on the Jubilee Line, the public will now be able to make calls and go online, without interruption while travelling underground.
Shashi Verma, Chief Technology Officer at TfL, said: “We are delighted to have delivered this pilot of 4G mobile signal on the eastern end of the Jubilee line. This has been very complex work to install the necessary equipment to allow our customers to be able to get phone reception within our tunnels while keeping the stations open and operational.
“We are now looking at extending the pilot to cover the entire Jubilee line by the end of the year, as well as award our wider concession to all the whole Underground network to be connected in the future.”