U.K. Passengers in Channel Tunnel to Get Wireless Service

Train passengers going from England to France will have wireless access in the Channel Tunnel, about 100 meters (330 feet) below sea level, starting in March after Vodafone Group Plc and EE won a 10-year deal to provide service.

The U.K. wireless carriers will offer voice and data access using so-called third-generation networks, and plan to provide faster fourth-generation service in the future, Groupe Eurotunnel SA said in a statement. EE will offer 4G service this summer, the company, the U.K. joint venture of Orange SA and Deutsche Telekom AG, said in a separate statement.

The agreement adds to wireless service already provided by French mobile-phone carriers. Eurotunnel, which holds the rights to operate the two rail tunnels beneath the English Channel, awarded contracts to Bouygues SA, Orange SA and Vivendi SA’s SFR ahead of the 2012 London Olympic Games.

“This will enable passengers of both Le Shuttle and high-speed passenger trains to use their mobile phone or tablet device at any point of the journey through the Channel Tunnel,” Eurotunnel said. “The quality of communication will be equivalent to a call made in Paris, London or anywhere above ground.”

The 20-year-old rail line runs the high-speed Eurostar passenger trains between London, Paris and Brussels as well as services between the ports of Folkestone and Calais.

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