Thursday, 29 July 2021

London Underground to get mobile network as BAI prepares £1bn mobile boost

by Harry Baldock, Total Telecom
Wednesday 23 June 21

BAI has won a contract to build a 4G mobile network for the London Underground train system, pledging £1 billion to improve the capital’s connectivity over the next two decades

BAI Communications has won a contract to build a neutral host mobile network for the London Underground, following a competitive tender process. The project will see a 4G-capable and 5G-ready mobile network installed throughout the public transport system by 2024. BAI says it will spend £1 billion on improving London’s connectivity over the next 20 years, including installing fibre adjacent to the Tube network that could also connect local buildings…

BAI Communications has won a contract to build a neutral host mobile network for the London Underground, following a competitive tender process.

The project will see a 4G-capable and 5G-ready mobile network installed throughout the public transport system by 2024. BAI says it will spend £1 billion on improving London’s connectivity over the next 20 years, including installing fibre adjacent to the Tube network that could also connect local buildings.

“Our long-term partnership with TfL will completely transform the passenger experience, as well as helping to boost London’s economy and providing social benefits for years to come. By building the most advanced network of its kind in the world here, we are helping London leapfrog other major cities in terms of connectivity and ensure that the capital remains the most attractive place for investment,” explained Billy D'Arcy, CEO of BAI Communications UK. “Across the length of this concession, we fully anticipate investing in excess of £1 billion across the Connected London programme.” 

“We will also establish a new city-wide high-capacity fibre network throughout London and leverage the power of 5G and the Internet of Things to unlock new opportunities for technological innovation,” continued D’Arcy. “Our extensive credentials delivering large-scale connected infrastructure and networking solutions position us perfectly to capitalise on the fast-growing commercial appeal of 5G enterprise solutions and smart city applications.” 

Wholesale access to the mobile network will be sold to the likes of BT, Vodafone, O2, and Three, though how much these operators will be willing to pay, given that they are unlikely to be able to charge more for access to the network, remains to be seen. 

Mobile coverage will be available at several busy stations, including Oxford Circus, Bank, and Tottenham Court Road, by the end of 2022, with the rest of the network to be rolled out by the end of 2024.

This is a major win for BAI, a company that is no stranger to operating connectivity infrastructure for underground rail networks, having already built similar projects in New York, Toronto, and Hong Kong.

“This project will benefit from our extensive experience and expertise in designing, building and operating these networks in incredibly difficult environments and delivering 5G solutions and use cases that benefit businesses, citizens, and public services,” said BAI group CEO Igor Leprince, noting that this was a significant win for the company’s neutral host growth strategy. 

 

High quality connectivity for transport networks will be a key feature of the smart cities of the future. Will truly smart cities soon be within reach? Find out from the experts at this year’s live Connected Britain conference 

Also in the news: 
“Too good to go back”: Nokia backs hybrid working in post-Covid shakeup
MTN sets aside $1.5bn for Nigerian broadband
Mauritius hands out 5G licences

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