Virgin Media Adds Six More Stations To Tube Wi-Fi Network

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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Tube Wi-Fi network expands to 137 stations, with iOS devices being popular underground and BlackBerry traffic doubling

Virgin Media has added six more stations to the London Underground Wi-Fi network, bringing the total number of wireless-enabled stops on the capital’s subterranean railway to 137.

Golders Green, Southgate, West Kensington, Parsons Green, Kilburn and East Putney have all had networking equipment installed, meaning tablet and smartphones users can access Wi-Fi from the ticket hall to the platforms.

Virgin Media says even more stations will be added to the network by the end of the summer, adding that the service continues to enjoy success with more than 800,000 devices registered.

Tube Wi-Fi stations

London-Tube“Virgin Media’s Wi-Fi on the London Underground has been a huge success with Londoners and visitors alike so we’re delighted to be connecting even more people in more places,” says Joe Lathan, director of broadband at Virgin Media.

The company has also revealed some details about which types of devices are using the service. iOS devices account for 65 percent of web views, down from 74 percent last year, while Android page views have increased from 20 percent to 30 percent and BlackBerry traffic has doubled in the past year.

The tube Wi-Fi service is free for Virgin Media customers and subscribers to three of the UK’s major mobile operators – EE, Vodafone and O2, with the latter finally agreeing a network sharing deal last July. It is unclear whether Three is in discussions to bring the service to its customers, but the Wi-Fi network is also accessible on a pay-as-you-go basis, with daily plans costing £2.

Mobile coverage next?

Virgin Media won the much sought-after contract to provide Wi-Fi to the London Underground in 2012, with the wireless network going online in June, just in time for the London Olympics.

The network handles one million user sessions each day, but despite the success of Tube Wi-Fi service, there have been additional calls for mobile coverage to be added to the London Underground.

Transport for London (TfL) told TechWeekEurope last year that although it supported the idea of mobile roll-out on the Tube “in principle”, any project should not come at the expense of taxpayers or fare payers and that major UK phone operators had so far been unable to come up with a self-financing solution for voice calls in the depths of the tube.

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