Enabling mobile phones to work deep underground on London's ancient tube network has long been a desire for both mobile networks, users and the city itself, but a recent announcement of a £50m gift of hardware from Chinese manufacturer Huawei has not helped progress the plans into fruition. Negotiations between Transport for London (TfL), the mobile operators and engineering firm Thales, who would install the system have broken down over financial and technological aspects. Due to constraints on TfL's budget, the mobile networks would need to fund the work required to get the network installed, and it's likely that this is a stumbling block as to why progress hasn't been made.
"The mayor and TfL made it clear that, given the financial pressures on TfL's budgets, any solution would have to have been funded through mobile operators with no cost to fare or taxpayers.
The parties were not able to agree a viable proposal, and the project is therefore not being progressed at this time."Transport for London statement
The aim to enable mobile coverage on the tube does remain a long-term goal but it's likely that Londoners will have to wait a few more years at least before this will happen. Other proposals to enable Wi-Fi access at tube stations is still set to go ahead, with 120 stations due to be live before the 2012 Olympic Games.