London Mayor Boris Johnson cautious on Tube mobile network

14:37 22 February 2011

Mayor of London Boris Johnson has given a cautious thumbs-up to mobile phone access on London Underground

Mayor of London Boris Johnson has given a cautious thumbs-up to mobile phone access on London Underground

2009 Getty Images

Extending mobile phone coverage to underground sections of the Tube network is “the way to go”, London Mayor Boris Johnson has said.

The Tory politician extended a cautious welcome to proposals to install transmitters in time for the 2012 Olympics.

But he warned that engineers face enormous technical challenges because of the narrow tunnels trains operate in.

Mr Johnson added that some passengers may not welcome the change.

He said: “It is commercially difficult, it is technically difficult and I am urging caution.

“In the long run, if you look at other big cities, they all have mobile phones working on Tubes.

“We have been unable to do it because our tunnels are so narrow, but in the long run it is progress.

“We have got to be clear, a lot of people will not be completely enthusiastic about having mobile phones on the Tube.

“I think it is the way to go and we have got to give people the ability to text and perhaps have some coverage for voice telephony.

“The issue is not so much the Chinese company that is offering to help or security issues.

“The issue is the technology given we have got very old and narrow tunnels.

“I am not ruling it out but I am not ruling it in either. It is on the way but do not count your chickens.”

Chinese telecoms firm Huawei has reportedly offered to install a £50 million phone network for free as a gift from one Olympic nation to another.

Transport for London (TfL) officials said discussions are under way but private companies must foot the bill with no additional costs for passengers or London taxpayers.

Digital emergency service radios work underground after new technology was installed as a result of recommendations made after the July 7 attacks.

But one MP, Conservative Patrick Mercer, warned a public network could help terrorists by allowing them to detonate a device underground remotely.

Latest London transportation news

Monday, May 23, 2016
The road by the station has been blocked off by the police (Photo: Chris @Southern_Trax)

Southeastern trains were unable to run on the Woolwich line this afternoon when an unidentified object sparked a security alert at Erith station.

Monday, May 23, 2016
The Night Tube map showing which services will run all night

Transport for London (TfL) and City Hall have today announced an official start date for the Night Tube after months of speculation.

Monday, May 23, 2016
The girl was struck by a train at Catford Bridge station (	Photo: Sunil060902)

A schoolgirl was hit by a train at Catford Bridge during this morning’s rush hour.

Monday, May 23, 2016
There has been a signal failure at Leytonstone Tube station (Photo: Matthew Black)

London’s busiest Tube line is part-suspended this morning, as a signal failure at Leytonstone halts eastbound trains.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016
Do you recognise this man? (Picture: BTP)

A 34-year-old man was punched in the face on a train leaving Paddington station after his attacker made ‘anti-Muslim’ comments, British Transport Police (BTP) said today.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016
Commuters will face chaos on the rail networkd today (Picture: PA Images)

A strike by hundreds of rail conductors meant commuters will face severe disruption to services all day Wednesday, Southern Rail confirmed.

What is this?

Near You Now

Don't Miss...

Competitions

Win a BMW 1 series

There are fewer cars currently on the market more stylish and exciting than the BMW. Known all over the world as one of the best car manufacturers, the BMW is renowned for sleek designs and fantastic high quality workmanship.

Read more
Kindle 7 inch tablet

Are you looking for a brand new gadget to help you stay connected on the go and make that long journey home a bit more entertaining? Look no further. MyOffers is giving you the chance to win 1 of 50 Kindle Fire 7” Display Tablets! That’s 50 times more chances to win, so hurry up and enter our competition today and you could be one of our lucky winners!

Read more

Latest Tech News

Transport