4G goes live throughout the Channel Tunnel

The Channel Tunnel's recently launched 3G services from the UK side has now been upgraded to LTE.

Rail operator Eurotunnel has launched 4G mobile services in the Channel Tunnel, boosting mobile internet speeds for commuters travelling in both directions through the 50 kilometre sub-sea tube.

Eurotunnel and its telecoms partners EE, O2, Vodafone, and Bouygues Telecom launched 4G services on Friday, offering passengers on Le Shuttle as well as high speed passenger trains download speeds that are "up to 10 times faster than the existing 3G network".

Passengers will have access to higher speeds in both directions on the journey between the UK and France, Eurotunnel said.

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"This development will enable passengers to access content and services and will speed up data flows throughout the journey between the UK and France in both directions, 100 metres below the sea and over 100 percent of the network," it added.

Delivering mobile coverage to the Channel Tunnel was a "remarkable feat", according to Eurotunnel, in part because equipment is installed 100m below sea level. The company said it took nearly three years to enable coverage in both directions.

3G mobile coverage first arrived to the tunnel in 2012 ahead of the London Olympics but only for travellers coming into the UK and not those heading in the opposite direction. The one-way system was a result of French operators Bouygues Telecom, Orange, and SFR launching 3G services from the southern end, ahead of their British counterparts doing the same at the other side.

One of the challenges that Alcatel-Lucent and Bouygues had to overcome was difficulties synchronizing the GSM-P (primary GSM) and GSM-R (railway GSM) systems to support mobile services inside the tunnel.


It wasn't until May this year that UK operators Vodafone, EE, and O2 UK managed to install a comparable mobile network from the North Running Tunnel.

The 4G network in the Channel Tunnel will provide continuous services for 21 million passengers, according to Eurotunnel.

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