MOBILE PHONE COVERAGE is coming to the Channel Tunnel.
Operator Eurotunnel has signed a 10-year agreement that will see the peace of the English Channel undersea link shattered by chattering voices, as customers of EE and Vodafone will be able to use their phones in the Chunnel just as they can above ground.
Voice, SMS, 3G and 2G will all be supported, with both carriers promising 4G to follow. A similar agreement already exists with French carriers Orange, Boygues Telecom and SFR, which co-operated in kitting out the south tunnel, while the Brits completed work on the north tunnel which will go live for consumers in March.
The announcement marks a triumph of common sense for the 20 million annual travellers of the Chunnel, who will now be able to work on their commute without paying additional fees for WiFi or mobile roaming. The service will be available to Eurostar high-speed train users as well as cars transporting Le Shuttle passengers.
Eurotunnel said that call quality will be equivalent to the same call made in London or Paris, the only difference being that users will be 100 metres below sea level.
The rollout was completed despite significant issues surrounding health and safety as well as the logistics of laying electrical equipment at a depth of 100 metres next to trains passing at speeds in excess of 180mph.
Travellers on O2 and Three will be unable to join the fun, however the mobile operators have been given an open invitation to join at a later date. µ