At the start of the year EE announced they would be installing 4G in the Eurotunnel, and the network has now been switched on. The installation was completed on 24th September 2014 and so far appears to be a great success. The service has been launched as part of the celebrations around the 20th anniversary of the Eurotunnel.
EE has confirmed that its 4G service is now live in the Eurotunnel, in the 23.5 mile long North tunnel that runs between Folkestone in the UK and Calais in France. The tunnel, which is around 75 metres underground, has had 4G coverage for EE customers since the end of September. The South tunnel, which runs from France to the UK has had 4G coverage since 2012, as French operator Bouygues Telecom installed their network in time for the London Olympics.
4G speeds in the Eurotunnel
Since the 4G network has been live in the North tunnel, an estimated 25,000 EE customers have connected to it. Between them they have used approximately 282GB of data and peak download speeds of 57Mbps have been delivered, with average speeds of around 13.5Mbps.
A fully connected journey
The journey from the UK to France takes approximately half an hour, with the train travelling at around 99 miles per hour. The availability of 4G connectivity during the journey will now allow business and leisure passengers to take part in a wide range of online activities. This could include checking e-mail, downloading large files, online gaming, video calling, streaming HD video, planning their onward travel, researching their destination, and online shopping.
According to Fotis Karonis, CTO of EE, “Our 4G rollout has changed the mobile landscape in the UK, and we’re very proud to have been the first UK operator to put superfast data 75 metres underground in the Channel Tunnel. We’ve been watching the performance of the network for the last two months and we’ve now delivered a great data experience to more than 25,000 customers, and made a real difference to people commuting and going on holiday. The 4G network lets customers stream HD video, download large files, and use video calling services, all while 75 metres underground, travelling up to 99 MPH during the half hour journey.”
EE isn’t the only network operator to invest in providing connectivity in the Eurotunnel. An agreement was signed between O2, Vodafone, EE, French operators Orange, SFR, and Bouygues, Channel Tunnel owners EuroGroup, and infrastructure provider Alcatel-Lucent to bring network coverage to the tunnel. It is thought that all operators have invested around £2 million each to make this possible.
O2’s network apparently went live during November, with Ronan Dunne, UK CEO of O2 saying “We have just completed our investment in the euro tunnel, and are able to provide all the services including 4G to passengers.” Vodafone already provides 2G and 3G in the tunnel, and will switch on 4G in due course.