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Elizabeth Line stations first to get superfast 4G connectivity are revealed

The first Elizabeth line stations that will get super-fast 4G smartphone connectivity were named on Friday - alongside a pledge to have all its central London stations connected by next Spring.

Bond Street, Tottenham Court Road, Farringdon and Liverpool Street stations will join Transport for London’s high-speed mobile data network by Christmas.

The line’s seven other stations and tunnels between Paddington, Abbey Wood and Stratford will be completed by the end of April.

TfL also announced progress with the ongoing roll-out of 4G – and even faster 5G – on the London Underground.

Oxford Circus and Tottenham Court Road – and the Central line tunnels that connect them – became the first West End Tube stations to get 4G and 5G on Friday.

This enables passengers to make and receive phone calls from the platform - or onboard the train.

Mayor Sadiq Khan and his deputy mayor for transport Seb Dance marked the occasion by tweeting from the eastbound Central line platform at Oxford Circus.

Mr Khan said: “This means Londoners and visitors can now access the latest travel information or social media, check their emails, make calls, and stream videos whilst on the move underground.”

4G coverage has also been introduced to the Northern line platforms at Tottenham Court Road.

Shashi Verma, chief technology officer at TfL, said: “You will get a better signal today in the Tube tunnels than you are going to get above ground. This is one of the best services you are going to get anywhere in London.

“This is a very significant improvement to people’s experience of travelling on the Tube, because it takes away the ‘dead’ time, it provides you with connectivity - it means you can browse the internet, do social media, and even do work calls while you are on the Tube.”

About 80 per cent of the Tube will have 4G and 5G by the end of 2024, but some work will continue into 2025/26, primarily on the Circle and District lines or areas outside central London.

The original plan was to have the Tube fully connected by the end of next year. 4G, which effectively allows a smartphone to be used in the same way as above ground, was first introduced on the Tube in a trial on the eastern end of the Jubilee line.

The 4G/5G signal can be received on trains, in tunnels, on platforms and in ticket halls and on escalators.

All four mobile network operators - Three UK, EE, Vodafone, and Virgin Media O2 (VMO2) – allow their customers to access TfL’s 4G network.

The roll-out began in earnest last December when 4G was launched between Queensway and Holland Park on the Central line. This was followed by a section of the Northern line.

Last month, Camden Town and Mornington Crescent were added. Euston’s Charing Cross branch will get 4G and 5G coverage in the coming weeks.

This will be followed by Goodge Street, Chancery Lane and Bank in the coming months. The southern end of the Northern line will be added next summer.

Canary Wharf and North Greenwich will be among the first Jubilee line stations to get 5G.Testing will shortly begin on the Bakerloo, Victoria and Piccadilly lines to allow 4G and 5G to start being introduced later this year.

By the end of the year, 33 Tube stations will have 4G coverage, increasing above 40 by next Spring.

More than 10 per cent of Tube stations with platforms that are underground, and therefore unable to get a mobile signal, now have 4G and 5G coverage.

The network is being built by Boldyn Networks, previously known as BAI Communications, at no cost to TfL under a 20-year contract.

Its engineers work overnight to install more than 1,200 miles of cabling, antennae and radio receivers.

All mobile operators can connect into the “neutral” network, which can also be used by the emergency services.

The DLR and London Overground between Highbury & Islington and New Cross will get 4G in the next two years under an expansion of the deal, TfL said on Friday.