Tube mobile plans shelved

Written by Antony Leather

April 4, 2011 // 11:33 a.m.

Tags: #3g #3g4g #4g #mobile #tfl #underground-coverage

Plans to install a 3G mobile network on the London Underground railway in time for the Olympics have been shelved.

We recently reported that Chinese telecom provider Huawei had offered to donate the hardware required to provide mobile coverage. It would then have been up to UK mobile operators such as 02 and Vodafone to connect everything together.

However, The Guardian reports that the whole deal fell by the wayside. The offer from Huawei proved to be quite generous too - £50m of equipment to wire up the network on the basis that this was 'a contribution from one Olympic nation to another.'

However, according to The Guardian, 'Transport for London and mobile operators including 02, Vodafone, Everything Everywhere and 3 and the French engineering company Thales, agreed to abandon the project over funding issues and the technical complexity of installing the system in time.'

While the network won't be making an appearance in time for the 2012 Olympics, London Mayor Boris Johnson alluded to the fact some commuters had raised concerns about the ability to make calls on the underground.

A spokesperson from Johnson's office told The Guardian that the mobile network remained a 'long-term goal,' and that the current plan is simply to install WiFi networks at Tube stations. This would enable commuters to send and receive emails from the platform and while passing through stations - you could presumably use VoIP applications such as Skype to make calls too.

Do you miss your phone's capabilities when you're on the tube, or is the daily commute on the Underground a pleasant rest from annoying ring tones? Let us know in the forums.

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