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Moves to Bring Mobile Phone Coverage to London Tube Trains by 2012

21 сентября 2010

Mobile phone coverage could become available on London's underground railway in time for the Olympics in 2012, if a report in the Sunday Telegraph is to be believed. The report says that the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson has pulled in the country's five mobile networks and persuaded them to spend the several hundred million pounds on deploying an underground network.

There have been abortive attempts to put mobile phones on London's Underground for at least the past decade.

When London Underground announced in March 2005 that it was seeking expressions of interest from potential suppliers for mobile phone coverage on the Tube it was on the basis that coverage in tunnels would be excluded. A feasibility study undertaken last year found that having many thousands of mobile phones coming in and out of signal as passengers traveled between coverage zones at stations, and kept dropping signals in tunnels would overload the phone networks.

London Underground was also due to test mobile phone services on a short stretch of the network in 2008 to see if the service was commercially viable - although the trial did not take place. A spokesperson said last year that "London Underground tendered for a trial of mobile phones on the Waterloo and City line, but the market has yet to provide us with a credible proposal for enabling mobile phone use on the Tube."

However, Mr Johnson is believed to have taken it upon himself to "bash heads together in the mobile phone industry" to ensure the plan goes ahead this time.

The news report adds details of a technical solution, which if correct would suggest that the discussions about deploying phone coverage are at a very advanced stage. The proposed plans would not be based on conventional leaky feeder cables, but would put micro-cells inside each carriage with backhaul from the carriage to the network carried by an undefined manner.

Earlier this year, the Mayor also said that he would support moves for a proposed city-wide Wi-Fi network to be expanded into underground train stations.

Letting people use mobile devices on the Tube network would be "to the benefit of the economy", he said. "I think people do want the facility of looking at their Blackberry, or whatever it happens to be," he added. He also noted that if voice calls were ever enabled on the network, then so-called "quiet carriages" would be made available where the use of phones would be discouraged.

Источник: Cellular news

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