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Chinese firm offers free mobile coverage on the Tube

Chinese firm offers free mobile coverage on the Tube

Chinese telecoms company Huawei has reportedly offered to get mobiles working on the Tube.

A Chinese telecom provider called Huawei has reportedly offered to provide mobile coverage to London Underground for free.

According to Yahoo News, Huawei has already been in talks with UK Mobile operators, including Vodafone and O2, who have agreed to pay for the installation work, while Huawei hopes to earn income from maintenance fees.

Transmitters would be installed along the lengths of tunnels, enabling travellers to make calls from locations where there is currently no mobile coverage. However, some commentators have questioned the security and ethics of employing a Chinese firm to undertake such a task.

Conservative MP Patrick Mercer has apparently told the Sunday Times: 'It has been proven that a proportion of the cyberattacks on this country come from China. I wonder when the eyes of the world are upon us whether there is sense in using a Chinese firm to install a sensitive mobile network.'

As if the prospect of sitting next to a phone-obsessed chatterbox on a passenger flight wasn't bad enough, the government's ambition to provide cellular network coverage to the Tube (London's underground train network) by the time of the 2012 Olympics looks like it might just be possible.

National security aside, we suspect plenty of people will be dreading the day the network is enabled, as the Tube currently offers a relatively peaceful commute. Let us know your thoughts in the forum.

37 Comments

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proxess 21st February 2011, 14:54 Quote
In Japan, making phone-calls on trains and subways and buses is forbidden. Now that's a golden rule.
C-Sniper 21st February 2011, 15:17 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by proxess
In Japan, making phone-calls on trains and subways and buses is forbidden. Now that's a golden rule.

That was an awesome rule when I was over there taking the bullet train and metro. It actually allowed everyone to relax and enjoy the ride without without having to talk over people with cell phones.
FelixTech 21st February 2011, 15:28 Quote
Given it is hard enough to actually converse with someone sitting next to you thanks the noise, I don't imagine phones will fare much better. Newspapers and adverts are the entertainment of choice for a reason - because they don't require you to hear them!
Greenie 21st February 2011, 15:36 Quote
Is 'Conservative MP Patrick Mercer' aware that Huawei make loads of the telephone and mobile communication devices we already use? Not to mention smartphones, routers and other networking equipment.

That statement seems like pointless fear mongering to me. Just because they are a Chinese company doesn't mean they are cyber criminals. It's just like labeling all Muslims terrorists (Hint: They're not).
Er-El 21st February 2011, 15:38 Quote
Might as well wait a little longer so that they can set up 4G (not 3.9G i.e. LTE and WiMax) reception when the tech and standards are finally available.
d3m0n_edge 21st February 2011, 15:54 Quote
Gosh, just because a handful of the Chinese nation are cell phone hackers, it doesn't mean that the entire of the Chinese population are all hackers. Talk about profiling or labeling! Whatever happened to diversity?
SaNdCrAwLeR 21st February 2011, 16:12 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Greenie
Is 'Conservative MP Patrick Mercer' aware that Huawei make loads of the telephone and mobile communication devices we already use? Not to mention smartphones, routers and other networking equipment.

That statement seems like pointless fear mongering to me. Just because they are a Chinese company doesn't mean they are cyber criminals. It's just like labeling all Muslims terrorists (Hint: They're not).

yeah... it's not like 90% of consumer electronics already don't come from that side of the globe anyway...

also...
Very Happy with my Huawei U8230 :D
Mankz 21st February 2011, 16:33 Quote
NO. DO NOT PUT PHONES ON THE TUBE.

THE LAST THING I WANT TO HEAR IN THE MORNING IS 'HOW ABSOLUTELY MASHED AMY WAS NIGHT AND HOW YOU CANT BELIEVE SHE SLEPT WITH TIM FROM ACCOUNTING. YOU KNOW, THE GUY WITH THE BIG NOSE'

I dont need to know about your damn Issues on the Northern Line each morning.
Nitrix 21st February 2011, 17:12 Quote
OMG she slept with tim to....
SMIFFYDUDE 21st February 2011, 17:22 Quote
.
Mankz 21st February 2011, 17:48 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nitrix
OMG she slept with tim to....

Let's be honest, who hasn't.... But the point still stands!
Fizzban 21st February 2011, 18:23 Quote
Seems like a bad idea to me. I get a lot of buses and I used to hate listening to peoples calls. My solution to that though was to get some noise isolating canal-phones and be blissfully unaware of everything.
ZERO <ibis> 21st February 2011, 18:43 Quote
As much as I do not like listing to phone calls I do not want to be in a place where I can not make them for long. While for the average worker having a constant line to the office is something they do not need or want, for those who run said company or have higher positions need the ability to be able to make calls from any place at any time. The ability of those on the top to remain connected ensures that problems are fixed quickly and that the average worker is able to keep there job b/c the company is running alright.

This is also why the no phones in cars is stupid too. There are people who actually have important things that they need to be using the phone for. So many important things that there is physically not enough time in a day to get all of these things done, ever. Therefore the ability to communicate while also traveling is needed unless there is a way to make the transit instant or the day longer. Business does not stop because your on a train or in a car, if you do not keep moving with it you will be left behind.
Skill3d 21st February 2011, 18:51 Quote
Or just get one of those nifty cell-phone jammers from the army...
Dogbert666 21st February 2011, 18:56 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZERO <ibis>

This is also why the no phones in cars is stupid too.

A lot of cars now come with in-built Bluetooth based handsfree stereos, which work perfectly well and are much safer than having to physically handle the phone as opposed to the steering wheel.

Personally, I don't think this will be a problem. There's often been times where I've needed to make a call/text but can't because I'm underground, usually being delayed. As for the noise, the trains themselves are louder, and I always have my in-ear earphones and iPod to drown it all out anyway. Agreed that it should be 4G enabled though.
Tesla effect 21st February 2011, 19:10 Quote
Trust a Tory to hijack for publicity sake a story regarding a sensible communications infrastructure improvement with unfounded, deluded & xenophobic remarks. Huawei equipment is already deployed in existing fixed line networks does this mean the interwebz security has already been breached...hardly. Apologies if this is echoing existing comments but it's just ignorance beyond the ridiculous.

The notion that they're doing it for free is absurd (hence the fear mongering perhaps?) Contradicting the headline the story even points out that the mobile operators are paying for the installation...non story full stop if you ask me. Should read "mobile operators upgrade network coverage on the Tube."
Locknload 21st February 2011, 19:16 Quote
Wow!!..........that Ami is such a tramp, i am glad i slept with her and her Mum before Tim did though.
Most of Talk talk equipment is made by Hauwei IIRC.
Jehla 21st February 2011, 20:14 Quote
So they are going to install for free and earn money from maintained... Why is the incentive for them to badly install cheap/ unstable gear and sit back and wait for the support calls to roll in.
Tesla effect 21st February 2011, 20:37 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jehla
So they are going to install for free and earn money from maintained... Why is the incentive for them to badly install cheap/ unstable gear and sit back and wait for the support calls to roll in.

I read the source it sounds that Huawei gift the transmission hardware for publicity/positive profile. Mobile Operators invest in the installation & accept ownership of the maintenance for profit. Just a PR stunt rewarded with a no thanks.
Orca 21st February 2011, 22:29 Quote
Only useful when the Tube is broken, which is everyday so I guess it will be useful?
smoothie 22nd February 2011, 00:06 Quote
...I thought the internet was just a series of tubes...
Ryu_ookami 22nd February 2011, 01:43 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Locknload
Wow!!..........that Ami is such a tramp, i am glad i slept with her and her Mum before Tim did though..

you slept with them both as well. I'm glad it wasn't just me. Just out of curiousitys sake when you went to the doctors to pick up the cream to stop the itching did you get a lollipop I get ripped off he was out of lollipops so i got a balloon instead.
Xir 22nd February 2011, 06:55 Quote
That's not a baloon, that's what you use NEXT time you sleep with them :D
Can't believe i'm commenting this
LAGMonkey 22nd February 2011, 07:12 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by smoothie
...I thought the internet was just a series of tubes...

So itll be a a series of tubes within a tube....

Round like a circle in a spiral
Like a wheel within a wheel
Never ending on beginning.....

ahem.... well,
maximus09 22nd February 2011, 07:39 Quote
Patrick Mercer...what a numpty! He just proved the general views of most conservatives; if you're a muslim you're a terrorist, if you're chinese your a hacker, if you wear a hoody you're a criminal etc. etc.

Does he even know most of our electronics are made in China? *face palm*
perplekks45 22nd February 2011, 07:52 Quote
It's HUAWEI! I've yet to see a single product by them that's more than a steaming pile of BS.
logonui 22nd February 2011, 09:31 Quote
I just make a point of standing/sitting next to anyone on a phone and joining in the conversation, gets some laughes from the other passengers and you end up with a very red faced mobile phone user. They don't talk for long when everyone is looking over and laughing at them :D
liratheal 22nd February 2011, 09:39 Quote
I solved the "phone users on public transport" issue with headphones.

Although, having been on the Tube during rush hour - Is there really any desire from anyone to be elbowed in the face by some inconsiderate clot using his/her phone to tell their wife/boyfriend/husband/girlfriend that their day was a bit rubbish because they're a soulless jackass?
Bindibadgi 22nd February 2011, 09:52 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by maximus09

Does he even know most of our electronics are made in China? *face palm*

But are designed by other countries, like Taiwan and the US, which are not PRC China. Manufacturing is one thing, software and design is another.

The only good thing about phones on the tube is you get to use the net while travelling. They should just allow data packets only, no voice. I do most of my reading on the MRT here. You can even watch mobile DVB-T on the subway in Seoul :)

To be honest, I think there's a legitimate security concern given the way China operates and how this company is managed. Like you say, there are plenty of Chinese companies or part owned Chinese companies that make electronics we buy and use, however there seems to be a lot of concern over this one for reasons not outwardly stated. While I would never listen to a politician, I would if it were to come from an informed (we'd hope!) intelligence service.
Snips 22nd February 2011, 10:23 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by maximus09
Patrick Mercer...what a numpty! He just proved the general views of most conservatives; if you're a muslim you're a terrorist, if you're chinese your a hacker, if you wear a hoody you're a criminal etc. etc.

Does he even know most of our electronics are made in China? *face palm*

Why is that any different to the Labour point of view?

anyway back on topic. That Amy sounds like my kind of lady!
LAGMonkey 22nd February 2011, 10:32 Quote
Yo dog... i herd you like the tubes.

so we put the tubes in yo tubes!

Now you can surf the tubes, while you surf the tubes!

with someone with more talant than me please put that to the x-ibit images.
Paradigm Shifter 22nd February 2011, 11:06 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by proxess
In Japan, making phone-calls on trains and subways and buses is forbidden. Now that's a golden rule.

But they would follow the rules. They don't need bruiser enforcers and CCTV everywhere to do it, either.

In Britain, you'd get the usual nonsense - the businessman who just has to take that call, it's life or death, don'tchaknow?; the teen/young adult who disregards rules just because they're there... and if you used the extensive CCTV that is now on every Tube, train and bus to catch them and fine them for breaking the law, there would be all hell to pay in the media: "why did this model youth get fined blah-blah-blah when there's people out there murdering/raping/fiddling expenses blah-blah-blah 1984 blah-blah-blah big brother blah-blah"

...

I kind of wish for the days when mobile phones didn't exist - or perhaps, didn't exist outside of those enormous and expensive 'execu-bricks' of the early 90's - business was no less or more life or death then than now, and yet with the ease of this 'always connected' society, even when you're not at work, you're working - just in case that e-mail comes, or whatever.
Snips 22nd February 2011, 11:32 Quote
While it is taboo to be making calls on public transport in Japan. The use of data services is not and you see everyone text, watching/listening to media, using the internet and everything else you can do with a modern mobile phone. What is weird is seeing a mature bloke in a suit reading kiddie porn manga next to you on his way to the office. That sh*t needs banning!
Paradigm Shifter 22nd February 2011, 11:43 Quote
It'd be a start if the people who treat an on-train mobile conversation as "everyone in the whole carriage must hear every word I say" would stop. I've heard stories from "guess who slept with who x days ago and where!" to business conversations that I'm sure said businessperson would get in trouble for if their boss knew, as they were rattling off account numbers, names, meeting times and plans... all sorts of junk at the top of their voice.

It's an aural version of leaving the company laptop/memory stick/document folder on the train.

Currently the Tube stops that. For which I am grateful (one of the few things I'm grateful about on the Tube, I admit...)
Bauul 22nd February 2011, 14:05 Quote
The Tory MP has a sort of point, Huawei don't exactly have a squeaky clean history when it comes to playing fairly:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Huawei#Criticisms_and_controversy

I've also heard stories of them being thrown out of Australia for under-handed Chinese-goverment linked activities, but I'll be damned if I can remember the source.
mecblade 22nd February 2011, 14:41 Quote
neither have several companies in the western society Bauul. Anyone remember the scandal with nestle selling milk to developing countries while advertising false claims like how it's more nutritious compared to breast milk in 1977? I can also list a few others.

*sighs*

What is the world coming to nowadays?

I'm not a hacker, and i deplore what they do. Stereotypes FTL.
maximus09 22nd February 2011, 20:01 Quote
If the Chinese really wanted to steal our information and listen in to a load of trivial conversations i'm sure they could put whatever they wanted into the western designed electronics. And yea maybe I myself am stereotyping the conservatives, lets just say politicians ;)
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