The UK’s four mobile operators have abandoned plans to roll out a mobile network for the London Underground in time for the 2012 Olympics, stating it will not be possible.
“We have been working closely with infrastructure partners and London Underground for some time with the hope of delivering mobile services to London Underground and are disappointed that it will not be possible to deliver such services in time for next year’s Olympic Games,” Everything Everywhere, O2, Vodafone and 3 said in a joint statement, adding the operators would continue exploring other avenues for a later rollout.
No explanation was given for the turnabout in plans, but it is believed security issues surrounding Chinese vendor Huawei, widely tipped to be equipment supplier for the project, were not the reason.
According to the Wall Street Journal, sources close to the matter saidthe construction of a mobile network in the Tube would be a major challenge due to the limited hours in which work could take place.
Serious problems regarding power supply and equipment location had also not been resolved, while technical issues arising from the small tunnel sizes and their deeper location underground added to the problems.
London’s mayor Boris Johnson had also insisted no public funds could go toward the construction of the Tube’s mobile network.
The London Underground could however, enjoy Wi-Fi access at its stations by 2012. The transport company has released a call for firms to extend the Wi-Fi access already in operation at 16 stations.