We all know what happens when you are using your 3G / 4G smartphone or tablet on a train and you lose coverage or go through a tunnel. You get frustrated when what you were doing all stops.
This looks to change as at a recent event Patrick McLoughin, the UK’s Transport Secretary outlined that 4G mobile broadband would be coming to the UK’s railway network and be fully functional by 2019. He went further to say that some railway lines would benefit from 4G as early as 2015 whilst over 70% of railway travellers would benefit from 4G by 2019.
You may scream that 2015 is not soon enough yet a number of the UK’s 4G mobile operators won’t have launched 4G in a number of cities by then – more on 4G Networks here – and so you could argue that Network Rail’s schedule is not that bad and, in fact, may be limited by the availability of 4G across the UK.
Network Rail will be responsible for installing and maintaining the track-side 4G mobile infrastructure and it seems Network Rail has some unwanted bandwidth it could use. The Train Operators themselves would install the necessary on-board 4G equipment for use by passengers.
Network Rail is currently looking to appoint a 4G mobile operator to support the project. The favourite to win this contract, in my opinion, is EE as they would be in the best position to “fast-track” the project with their impressive 4G network coverage in 120 towns and cities.
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