back to article Mobile operators ditch Tube plans

London tube travellers have been saved from the menace of mobiles on the underground, as plans to extend mobile phone coverage onto trains have been canned. The four operators were working with Chinese provider Huawei to extend coverage in time for the Olympics. Everything Everywhere, O2, Three and Vodafone said: "We have …


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  1. eSeM

    No Mobiles On LU .....



  2. Anonymous Coward


    SO it is funding then! Network Operators = B******S all.

  3. Thomas 4


    Now I can jab people in the ribs with my huge fondleslab without being disturbed by mobile phones.

  4. Mike Smith

    "Brilliant," I thought....

    ...then I checked the date,

    You rotten sod, Oates. Getting our hopes up like that.

  5. jai


    really hope this isn't an April Fools, that'll be really disapointing

  6. Evil Scot

    One thing wrong

    This article appears to be well written / researched.

    I think that gave the game away.

  7. Rob Davis


    Perhaps there is also a fear that terrorism activities could be coordinated via an underground mobile network to give repeats of 7/7 tube bombings and also remotely triggered devices. The police already have a comms network in place since 7/7 so one wonders why futureproofing wasnt built into that to carry civilian data. So it might instead be national security concerns stopping this project

  8. Wider Web


    Tokyo's subway had mobile phone signal nearly 20yrs ago, it's lame that it's still impossible in London. Just do what's cost-effective - first the stations and then maybe the near-surface trains (District, Circle, Metropolitan). If LUL have space and heat-extraction capacity for wi-fi then they should have for pico-cells. SMS and 3G data are much more useful than wi-fi for commuters.

    1. Bram


      I think wi-fi would be better, you will be able to get more bandwidth and if they have smart devices they could make IP calls (Skype or whatever) and use internet messengers.

      In response to someone else's comments about terrorism being a reason to stop this project that can't be the case because lack of a phone didnt stop the 7/7 bombers

      Finally to the response about future proofing becuase the police can use there handsets is not possible, because it isnt a phone network the police use, they use the same network that the LU staff use which is radio transmissions (walkie talkies)

  9. Mark 65 Silver badge



    Even at this early stage Huawei was warning of problems - space and power supplies at stations were both limited, and any heat created by the hardware had to be dealt with.

    It warned: "Low ceiling heights, complex inter-connecting corridors and concourses, escalators and staircases, limits the choice of antennas and radiating power power elements and in tunnels have to have adequate and uniform signal coverage."


    Who'd have thought that all those years ago the considerate engineering pioneers that built the underground system would have had the foresight to "prevent people in 150 years time from having to sit next to some irritating wanker blathering about inconsequential bollocks regarding he said-she said crap that was of no relevance to man nor beast to someone via a mobile device that they'll be meeting face-to-face in about 5 minutes anyway" by virtue of their design.

    Gawd bless'em.

  10. Jamy

    Technical or Commercial Issues

    Wonder if the real reason was commercial rather than technical. London Underground seem to think that companies will spend a fortune to get some presence on the tube. I'm also suspicious their main business is advertising not ferrying people around London.

  11. Anonymous Coward

    The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

    Although much smaller, TW Metro has had this for years, so its possible - assuming funding is right...

    Really wish they had made it SMS and data only up here though... Nothing worse than sitting next to someone trying to yell into their phone above the noise of the train!

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not sure it's a commercial decision

    Especially since Huawei were going to be supplying all the kit gratis. The companies would only have been paying for installation. Perhaps if it were a commercial decision there was a maintenance contract hidden behind the original outlay by Huawei that couldn't be stomached, cos the kit to be installed would be pretty expensive

    Maybe cos a Chinese company with supposed links to the Red Army was backing the works the governement was under pressure to pull the plug...

  13. Anna Logg

    well they made it work in Stockholm

    Their underground system (OK less complex than London's) has pretty much 100% coverage in tunnels and stations, they must've installed plenty of capacity as well because pretty much everybody on the T-Bana uses a phone, even though a fair percentage are listening to music rather than making voice/data calls. Methinks this decision has more to do with money than technical issues, no surprise there.

  14. D@v3
    Thumb Up

    great news

    If this turns out to be an April Fool, then someone might get hurt

  15. zerocred

    Lost opportunity - probably the last. At least the Luddites are happy!

    You see, if they had done it years ago when calls cost 4 quid a minute then the operators could have afforded it and it may have actually made new ca$h from the extra coverage. However, now there is no reason to do it at all cos everyone is on all-you-can-eat dataplans so there is no extra money to be made to do it. Except maybe from some TfL staff members stutatory internet porn break or whatever the incluse term is these days - now they have to make do with mags.

    But you guys, with your 40 hour weeks and paid holidays have absolutely no fucking idea what is going on and what is going to happen. Your happiness that no phones are ringing will be short lived. That's cos no-one will be able to afford them because you'll all be on social security (which will pay 93p a week) because the Chinese have already taken all the manufacturing jobs, next services and no-one in the UK will be paying tax cos no one will have a job. The myth of a serviced based economy will be over around the same time as the olympics because China inc will pwn everything.

    Disclosure: I designed the parts of the phone coverage system in XXXX, YYYY and ZZZZ - none in the UK. I'm from the UK and I think its a shocking shambles that London doesn't have coverage in the underground - but that will be eclipsed the olympic-sized shambles still to inflict itself on us all. Flame away.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      What an appropriate name.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

  16. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    You know,

    per Top Gear, Japan has phone-free cars, where people will just glare at you and bitch you out until you get off the phone. Simple solution. Being able to text and use data without the limited range of wifi is not a bad thing. Of course, the phone will queue outgoing texts, and network will queue incoming texts, so it seems to me it could be sensible to at least provide service where possible in the stations, and you'd at least have texts come through when the phone has service, even if it's not long enough for useful phone or data calls.

  17. John Hughes


    Ok, it's harder to do on the tube than other networks (Paris metro for example), but it's just a sign of UK's continuing decline that "hard" means "oh, well, we'll give up".

    Disgusted, Champigny sur Marne, France.

    1. gerryg

      no comparison

      The Paris Metro is 220 km of mostly shallow tunnelling with a few km above ground. You could probably get a signal from the above ground cellular network without further work.

      The London Underground is 400km with Zone 1/2 largely a mixture of deep and cut and cover tunnelling. Different problem.

  18. Ku...

    Once again we prove we are no longer a top tier nation

    Its getting embarrassing how far behind we are getting compared to the competitive nations across the globe. And once again we (or at least Reg readers) seem pleased of the fact. "Britain is open for business" they say, its just getting harder to do business here and when foreign guests or clients come over more embarrassing.

  19. David Beck

    WiFi in the Underground?

    What sort of through-put will you get with the signal hostile environment? After all, the Tube is 750V DC (I think) and when I was working at (not for) BEA (shows age) the Westbourne Terrace site had to have a cage to keep the kit working because of the EMR off the Tube a few meters away.

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