To boost mobile phone coverage along a 45-mile stretch of the East Coast route between Newcastle and Edinburgh, London North Eastern Railway (LNER) has announced plans to partner with mobile phone operator O2 that will not only benefit customers travelling onboard train services through the North East but also the many communities where limited or no signal currently exists in North Tyneside and Northumberland.
Northumberland County Council has granted planning permission for the first of up to 12 new masts, with the final phase of the project seeing 5G available within Newcastle Central Station by summer 2021.
This partnership between LNER and O2 will also boost coverage from the current network of masts along the pilot area thanks to enhancements to existing signal levels, bringing better connections for communities and customers of the LNER route.
David Horne, managing director of LNER, said: “We know how vital our connections are between the great towns and cities of the LNER route. We also know how vital mobile connectivity is for our customers so we’re proud to be radically improving this for those who travel on our trains and also work and live along our route.”
The location of the proposed new masts follows almost a year of extensive testing and planning to identify the optimum locations to provide 4G coverage and be 5G ready.
Brendan O’Reilly, Chief Technology Officer of O2, said: “This is an important project for us as we seek to boost network coverage and capacity around the country. We’ve always looked to prioritise areas our customers need it the most, and upgrading busy transport hubs such as Newcastle Station will provide millions of customers with faster, more reliable network services.”
This latest development will offer a boost for those relying on voice and data usage when and will further improve the onboard Wi-Fi experience and allow faster data streaming.