Mobile coverage will be available on the London Underground according to The Telegraph who are reporting that Alcatel-Lucent intends to install a network across the entire tube network which will enable calls and mobile broadband. This is by no means the first announcement that the tube is to get mobile coverage, with various plans and proposals over recent years not coming to fruition. The announcement from Alcatel-Lucent should therefore be taken with a fistful of salt, despite the company declaring that the deal was not hypothetical.
The company says it plans to make it so you can sit and work on the underground trains which could help boost the British economy by £1.1bn.
"Phase one is that you can communicate under circumstances where today you can't. You can't use your iPad today everywhere in the London Underground. You should, so that's what we're doing. We help to make sure that the coverage is there. You sit there in the train and you want to work in the train. That's what we're doing."
"We're going to allow you to sit in the train and think, if I make this connection where could I go? So you make a personal travel plan. That's the next phase."Ben Verwaayen, (CEO) Alcatel-Lucent
Alcatel-Lucent are already involved in one technological roll-out on the tube which may have given them some insight into the complexities involved. The Virgin Media Wi-Fi network being deployed to over 120 stations is using Alcatel-Lucent equipment which may give the company some advantages in a mobile deployment. So far, six stations have been enabled, including Euston, Green Park, King's Cross St Pancras, Oxford Circus, Victoria and Warren Street.
So far, TfL have denied that they are in talks with Alcatel-Lucent, but if the plans do go ahead, some people may be happy about being able to stay in touch and work whilst on the tube, whilst others may regret the loss of one of the few places where there is a respite from work. Certainly, no one will appreciate people shouting in to their phones over the noise of the wheels grinding against the rails. Mobile coverage becoming ever more prevalent should be expected and this is one more step in-line with increasing technology coverage.