Huawei to bring mobile signal to the tube
21st Feb 2011 | 10:59
Giving London the £50m gift of underground gab
The London Underground is set to get mobile phone signal from Huawei as the Chinese firm bids to install transmitters on the tube.
It's all thanks to the Olympics, which sees London getting quite the lick of paint ready for the influx of international visitors for the games in 2012.
The Sunday Times reported that the Chinese firm is offering to put in the phone network for free – free! – as a sign of solidarity from one Olympic nation to another.
That's quite a gift, given that the network is estimated to cost £50m.
HELLO? I'm on the underground
The paper also said that Vodafone and O2 have agreed to pay for installation work, with Huawei making its money from maintenance fees.
Transport for London is sticking to its original statement, saying that talks are ongoing and that the implementation of signal underground should not cost customers or taxpayers any additional money:
"Given the financial pressures on TfL's budgets, any solution would need to be funded through mobile operators with no cost to fare or taxpayers. Discussions are ongoing."
While many Londoners dread the invasion of the mobile phone, with tube-time previously given to gentle meditation and the reading of philosophic texts, it would certainly come in handy for workaholics, those running late to meetings and lost tourists.