Mobile phones on Tubes by 2012, Boris says
PUBLISHED: 12:00 21 September 2010 | UPDATED: 12:09 21 September 2010
COMMUTERS could use their mobile phones and Blackberries on the Tube by the 2012 Olympics.
Boris Johnson is in discussions with the UK’s big mobile phone companies to share the £100 million cost of setting up mobile coverage.
It would mean Tube passengers could stay in mobile range throughout their journey, a move which could boost the capital’s economy, although there would almost certainly be some quiet carriages on Underground trains where phones were banned.
The Mayor is also understood to be pushing for mobile coverage on Eurostar services.
He is nearing an agreement with the five main operators — Vodafone, O2, Orange, T-Mobile and 3 — over the final funding details.
However, City Hall insisted that it would not cost commuters or taxpayers a penny.
Mr Johnson’s predecessor Ken Livingstone also held talks with operators about the scheme but the plans were never realised.
While the move is technically possible, project costs have so far been prohibitively high.
The Mayor is understood to have taken it upon himself to “bash heads together” in the mobile phone industry to make sure the plan goes ahead this time.
Mr Johnson first revealed his plans at the State of London debate in June. But he also said: “There are big technical difficulties. It’s very expensive.”