4G to be rolled out to UK rail network by 2015

4G to be rolled out to UK rail network by 2015

Superfast mobile broadband will be accessible to millions of train passengers by the year 2015, transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin revealed today.

After the initial rollout, it will be available to up to three-quarters of rail users by the year 2019.

The new system is being made available due to Network Rail modernising its fibre optics along lines, while operators will soon be fitting carriages with new equipment.

It is hoped that the new network will eventually be able to offer around 50mb per second, and will also aim to tackle a number of 'blackspots', where coverage is poor.

Poor signal has long been a cause for annoyance for many passengers, who often struggle to get a good connection when on board.

Mr McLoughlin said: “There are few things more frustrating than trying to phone a friend or access the internet, only to be thwarted by bad signal,” said Mr McLoughlin.

“Passengers deserve to have the best mobile technology and that is why I am pleased that industry is coming together to make that a reality.”

A number of industry experts have given a cautious welcome to the plans, but have also maintained that the service would need to come at a cheap price if it is to hold any benefits for consumers, or business users on the go.

Ernest Doku, telecoms expert at uSwitch.com, told Metro: "According to our research, 70 per cent of British commuters now use smartphones and/or tablets on their daily commutes, so high-speed mobile internet can’t come soon enough.

"But, as yet, there is no detail about pricing. With rail fares growing annually at alarming rates, this service needs to be competitively priced to be useful."

The rise of 4G has seemingly gathered momentum quickly since it was first launched earlier this year by EE.

The end of September saw Vodafone increase its competition to EE, by extending its own service to another five cities, including Birmingham, Coventry, Leicester, Nottingham and Sheffield.