London underground mobile network delayed

Londoners fed up with listening to other passengers’ mobile conversations breathed a sigh of relief Thursday, as London Underground (LU) announced it would be mid-2009 before mobile coverage can be offered on the tube.

LU had hoped to make mobile coverage available on the capital’s tube network from mid-2008.

Despite the delay, LU said a six-month trial will begin “in April 2008 at the earliest” to provide coverage on the Waterloo & City platforms at Bank and Waterloo stations and the tunnels between them.

In a statement LU said: “”The below-ground sections of the Underground are one of the few places in London where you are unable to use a mobile phone… We recognise that there is now growing demand for mobile coverage to be extended to deep-level sections of the Tube.”

It explained that “the key aim of the trial is to conclude whether it is technically and commercially viable for coverage to be extended across the Tube network.”

LU is also known to be seeking submissions from mobile operators interested in working on the underground project. Once it is switched on, the service could – given the timeframe – provide internet browsing as well as digital TV and radio.

According to LU, 56 per cent of the passengers it has surveyed, support the idea of mobiles underground.

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