Broadband News

Huawei offer £50m to install mobile network on London's Tube

Chinese telecoms firm Huawei has offered to provide a mobile network worth £50m to the London Underground for free and have it live in time for the Olympics in 2012 according to a report in the Sunday Times. The entire system is expected to cost more than £100m with Vodafone and O2 reportedly paying for the installation work to be done by Thales. Huawei would be looking to make a return on a maintenance contract for the system, and this discounted system would give them a foot in the door to the UK mobile market.

Boris Johnson, London's Mayor, previously announced last year that London would see mobile coverage on the tube in time for the Olympics. The details released yesterday push the city one step closer to this dream, although no deal has yet been struck.

"Transport for London and the Mayor of London are currently in discussion with mobile phone operators and other suppliers about the potential provision of mobile phone services on the deep Tube network.

Given the financial pressures on TfL's budgets, any solution would need to be funded through mobile operators with no cost to fare or taxpayers. Discussions are ongoing."

Transport for London spokesperson

Priority for deployment will be given to the Central and Jubilee lines which run to the Olympic park at Stratford, with other lines likely to receive service after the 2012 games. If a deal is signed before early April, work will begin in the summer to be completed before March 2012. The tight deadline will create a challenge for installation, particularly in the unique environment of the deep-level underground lines. Small cells would be deployed in stations and tunnels with equipment on trains which will connect to these via a cable that will run above trains in tunnels.


I can see the attraction of wi-fi and 3G/GPRS etc for data, am less convinced about the viability of voice, especially given how noisy some of the trains are in the deeper tunnels.

  • New_Londoner
  • over 10 years ago

"I'm on the Train"

  • JeremyBoden
  • over 10 years ago

At the same time, Huawei's attempt to buy into the US market by buying 3Leaf Systems has been blocked by the Committee on Foreign Investment due to security concerns. Maybe the USA was more interested in protecting the financial security of their own Telecoms industry :-)

  • dougxscott
  • over 10 years ago

I hope this network performs better than their modems!

  • bosie
  • over 10 years ago

I think we ought to take note of the US stance on this. There's no such thing as a free lunch.

  • SLBoy
  • over 10 years ago

BT already use Huawei kit in their network so there is no reason this would lead to something any less secure than that.

  • john
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • over 10 years ago

the US are very picky who they let in onto their markets. The German energy giant RWE was also blocked from the US with "security concerns" that's why they bought up a load of UK companies to enter by the back door.

Although I am dismayed at the Chinese government keeping their currency artifically weak and effectivly subsidise their companies so they can come in as the lowest possible bidder by miles.

Sooner or later when everybody else has gone under with this policy we'll see a massive price hike from all Chinese companies.

  • undecidedadrian
  • over 10 years ago


Should bring jobs back to the UK.

  • otester
  • over 10 years ago

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