O2 pioneers mobiles underground


O2 announced last week it will be the first UK network to allow customers to make calls while using underground public transport.

The service will be available in five Glasgow stations – Buchanan Street, St Enoch, Kelvinbridge, Hillhead and Partick and will go live in December. The service could later extend to London.

The deal with transmission provider Arqiva and Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT) will mean that O2 2G and 3G services will be enabled through a multi-user distributed antenna system allowing access to other networks should they wish to follow suit.

The service will initially only be available on platforms and concourses. O2 chief technology officer Derek McManus said: “This is the first time that any mobile phone network in the UK has implemented a service like this and O2 is delighted to be giving its customers the first chance to communicate on the underground.

“Ultimately, this is about providing O2 customers with the best customer experience and if this means that they can continue conversations on underground platforms or can text friends to say that they’ll be arriving in five minutes, then we’ve successfully provided a better service.”

O2 appears to be leading the way in technology advances as this new development comes after the Near Field Communication (NFC) trial. “Clearly the results of the NFC trial have shown that there is a big demand from consumers to have this type of technology developed and implemented in the UK. We are delighted to be the first network to introduce the extension of mobile services in to the Glasgow Subway. It is another example of providing our customers with the best possible customer experience,” said an O2 spokesman.

SPT assistant chief executive of operations Gordon Maclennan said: “This has been sometime in the planning but I’m delighted that we can offer this service to our passengers in time for Christmas. It’s a first for Glasgow and it opens the door for wider WiFi coverage in the Underground in future.”

O2 said customers will not be charged extra for the extension to their service but will continue to pay their standard tariff charges.