Plans for mobile network on the tube put on ice

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Operators and Mayor of London say plans to install a network on the underground are still a reality but will only happen after the Olympics

Plans to install a mobile network on the London Underground have collapsed after all parties involved in the scheme encountered “genuine problems” according to the Mayor of London’s office.

The four operators, Everything Everywhere, Three, O2 and Vodafone confirmed plans had been abandoned for the meantime, but said they would continue working to bring a network to the tube.

“We have been working closely with infrastructure partners and London Underground for some time with the hope of delivering mobile services to the London Underground and are disappointed that it will not be possible to deliver such services in time for next year’s Olympic games,” a joint statement said.

“As a group, we will continue to positively explore all other avenues available to us in order to provide a service at a later date.”

In February it emerged that Chinese network vendor Huawei was involved in the bidding process to supply the London Underground with mobile services in time for the 2012 Olympics.

It had been reported that the vendor would supply the infrastructure for the roll out at a subsidised price – estimated to be worth £50 million.

Transport for London (TFL), which runs the underground has always maintained that any mobile network installed on the tube would have to be funded by a vendor.

But now it seems that any possible installation of the network will only happen after the London Olympics.

A spokesperson for the Mayor of London said: “We are grateful to the companies who explored the possibility of getting full mobile coverage on the tube, although disappointed the genuine problems encountered could not be overcome on this occasion.”

The spokesperson said separate plans to equip part of the underground with Wi-Fi connections would still go ahead.

“Our efforts meanwhile will be focused on guaranteeing a major expansion of Wi -Fi coverage in Tube stations in time for the Olympics.

We are proceeding with great energy and haste to deliver that improvement, which will mean Londoners can then use their mobile devices to pick up their emails or access the internet while passing through our stations.”

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