Huawei snubbed after Londoners reject idea of Tube coverage

Huawei's generous offer to donate equipment to provide cellular coverage in the London Underground system has been given the thumbs-down from residents in a recent survey.

The online survey, conducted by mobile phone retailer GoodMobilePhones, involved 1,094 Londoners and found that over 75 per cent were opposed to the plan to offer mobile phone coverage, with the majority claiming that the Tube was the last stronghold from intrusive ringtones and shouted conversations.

A third of those questioned said they were concerned about the potential threat posed by thieves and muggers if expensive handsets were obviously on display. However, one in four people surveyed approved of the idea, would increase safety by making it possible to contact emergency services.

Regardless of these findings, the project still has the full support of Boris Johnson, the mayor of London, with the objective of providing underground cell phone coverage for Olympic visitors in 2012.

But Johnson has stipulated that the new network would need to be funded by the vendor and operators, which has triggered the offer from Huawei, thought to be valued at around £50 million. O2 and Vodafone are being positioned to pay for the installation, although the network would be open to all UK operators.

However, recent speculation has Huawei as the only bidder to supply equipment after Ericsson and Nokia Siemens Networks were said to have pulled out. The French technology firm, Thales, which specialises in providing technology services to transport systems, is also said to be linked with maintaining the overall system, assisted by Huawei.

For more:
- see this FT article (sub. req.)
- see this Daily Telegraph article
- see this The Register article
- see this Mobile News article

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