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Boris determined to have mobiles on the tube

by Pete Mason on 21 September 2010, 10:12

Tags: Transport for London

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According to a report in the Telegraph, Boris Johnson is determined to have cellular coverage on the majority of the London Underground in time for the Olympics in 2012.

While there have been plans to install mobile antennas in the tube network for some time, the costs have so far proved to be prohibitively high.  However, Mr Johnson has now intervened to ensure that the project gets off the ground by making the five major mobile-carriers foot the bill for the new infrastructure.

The project is expected to cost hundreds of millions of pounds and Vodafone, O2, Orange, T-Mobile and 3 will be expected to cover it in full.  Apparently, the Mayor of London is personally getting involved in the project to hammer out any deals needed to ensure that everything is finished on time.

According to the newspaper, the plans will also include installing mobile coverage on Eurostar services.

The expanded network will be made possible by using long transmitters built along the length of the tunnels with antennas positioned at the end of every carriage.

While we - being the connected folk that we are - appreciate the idea of being able to use our phones whilst being whisked along underneath the capital, we're still not sure about it in practice.  The thought of being crammed into a carriage during rush-hour next to a hundred bankers, lawyers and tourists all making phone calls is enough to makes us cringe.  Or at least enough to make us want to take the bus.



HEXUS Forums :: 19 Comments

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I recently had a trip to Stockholm where they already have this and it works well. London is playing catch up. That said - it's hardly the best place to make a phone call unless the train is empty.
Who will pay? evidently the networks will. According to your article anyway ;)

i really can't imagine trying to make a call on the tube, it's often difficult enough to have a conversation with the person next to you. Data services and SMS are another matter.

Here's a thought: how accurate would they be able to make cell positioning down there? I would imagine it would be fairly accurate, perhaps not GPS accurate, but a damn site better than “within 500m” you usually get.
Being able to text or browse would be massively welcome as far as I'm concerned. Anything to avoid accidently making eye contact with someone who sees it as an opportunity to talk to me.
GheeTsar
I recently had a trip to Stockholm where they already have this and it works well. London is playing catch up. That said - it's hardly the best place to make a phone call unless the train is empty.

+1 I to have just been to Stockholm and it works well. But I would them rather get some proper size metro trains that cuts conjection and that do not require you to be below 5.0ft and double jointed. (I know my statement is unfeasible as it is mostly old construction but we can all wish)
err most places have this, even the italians ffs.

but its a sign of how broken TFL is, I'm sure some telephone operator would have covered all the required costs for this long ago, seeing as they did in most other countries.

It must be how expensive TFL make it to be able to install kit, and considering our tube stops earlier than most peoples, and has waaay more maintance time, something isn't right.