Categories: 4GMobilityWorkspace

EE And Vodafone Agree To Provide Channel Tunnel 4G

EE and Vodafone customers will soon be able to use their mobile phones in the Channel Tunnel after the operators agreed a ten year deal to offer 2G, 3G and 4G services in the world’s longest undersea tunnel.

The operators will provide connectivity for the 35 minute journey from the UK to France in the North Tunnel, promising that the quality of communications will be the same as if the user were making the call from London or Paris.

EE hopes to offer 2G and 3G services from March, with a view to offering 4G this summer. Vodafone will also offer 2G and 3G from March, although the operator has not revealed when LTE will be made available to its customers.

Channel Tunnel 4G

“We’re proud to offer customers a superfast 4G service when they’re travelling from the UK into Europe. It’s another technology first for EE, and it’s one that will make a big difference to business workers and people going away on holiday,” says Fotis Karonis, chief technology officer of EE. “Being connected is such an important part of travelling now and this will be another route we’ve covered with 4G, making a huge difference to millions of customers who can now make the most of their journey time.”

Eurotunnel says there were a number of technical challenges to overcome to provide a wireless service 100 metres below sea level, but it is not clear why it has taken so long for the North Tunnel to receive coverage, when French operators have been providing similar connectivity since the middle of 2012.

Work was completed by Bouygues Telecom, Orange and SFR and their partner Alcatel Lucent by July that year and TechWeekEurope understood at the time that the North Tunnel was “virtually ready” for mobile coverage but no contracts had been signed.

The government has announced plans to improve mobile coverage along the UK’s busiest railway lines, with 70 percent of the travelling public benefiting from the rollout by 2019.

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Steve McCaskill

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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