EE And O2 Offer Channel Tunnel 4G

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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EE and O2 rollout LTE under the sea, but Vodafone and Three left out for now

Passengers travelling on train services in the Channel Tunnel from the UK to France can now receive 4G from EE and O2, but Vodafone customers are still restricted to 2G and 3G, while Three users will have to wait until they’re on the other side of the channel before using their devices.

A deal in 2012 saw British operators commit to providing coverage in the North Tunnel with their French counterparts covering the South Tunnel for trains travelling in the opposite direction.

Bouygues Telecom, Orange and SFR have offered mobile coverage since July that year, with UK mobile users forced to wait until March to receive 2G and 3G signal 100 metres below the sea.

Channel Tunnel 4G

Channel Tunnel LandscapeBut O2 says it has now completed tests of 2G, 3G and 4G services as part of a £2 million investment, while EE is claiming that 25,000 users have connected to its 4G network since September, consuming 282GB of data.

“We’ve been watching the performance of the network for the last two months and we’ve now delivered a great data experience to more than 25,000 customers, and made a real difference to people commuting and going on holiday,” says EE CTO Fotis Karonis.

Vodafone says it still plans on delivering 4G services to its customers but has given no indication of when that will be.

TechWeekEurope understands that Three currently has no intention of rolling out coverage in the tunnel and is instead focusing its resources on its ‘Feel At Home’ service, which lets customers use their phone as though they were in the UK in a number of other countries – including France.

Curiously, this arrangement means that Three users might be able to access the French operators’ network in the South Tunnel at no extra charge, although customers of rival operators would still be able to roam.

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