UK operators to bring mobile coverage to London's underground

London's controversial Mayor, Boris Johnson, has intervened in the protracted negotiations to provide cell phone coverage in the city's underground rail network in time for the 2012 Olympics.

Despite the operators complaining that they would not see any ROI for deploying the necessary infrastructure, Johnson has apparently twisted appropriate arms that will now see Vodafone, O2, Orange, T-Mobile and 3 bearing the £100 million--or more--installation costs.

The plan would call for the operators to deploy transmitters threaded along the roof of the London Underground's 112 miles of tunnels, with antennas placed at the end of each train carriage.

Johnson has informed the five operators that he wants to see the entire Underground network provided with coverage by the time of the games, and that the project should be funded entirely by the shared interests of all the mobile operators involved, as against creating funds by raising tube fares or sourcing money through taxpayers.

Numerous proposals have been made in the past to provide cell phone services in London's train tunnels, but have failed due to lack of funds. Despite this history, Johnson is said to be pushing for mobile coverage for Eurostar services.

For more on this story:
- read Cnet

Related stories:
Vodafone to use femtos to boost macro coverage
O2: the UK's largest operator, with the poorest 3G coverage
Who's got the best 3G coverage in Great Britain? And, the worst?
Vodafone customers provide coverage updates - in real-time

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