O2 has announced its plans to partner with London North Eastern Railway (LNER) to upgrade network services for rail customers and communities along a 45-mile stretch of the East Coast route between Newcastle and Edinburgh.
Planning permission for the first of up to 12 masts has been approved by Northumberland County Council, and existing signal levels will be enhanced – boosting coverage from the current network of masts along the pilot area, and providing better connections for communities and customers of the LNER 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.”
LNER’s new Azuma trains already offer the best Wi-Fi yet on the route so this latest development will offer a boost for those relying on voice and data usage when travelling at speeds of over 100mph. The project will further improve the onboard WiFi experience and allow faster data streaming.
The final phase of the project will see 5G connectivity become available within Newcastle Central Station by summer 2021.