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Mobile phones set to be used on London Underground
(21/02/2011 16:34:50)

Mobile phone owners could soon be able to use their handsets on the London Underground for the first time.

Chinese firm Huawei have reportedly offered to stump up the necessary £50 million to install the technology that would enable phone coverage on the tube.

This, it reportedly claimed, would be a goodwill gesture to mark the passing of the Olympic Games from Beijing to London in 2012.

It is hoped that visitors to the Games will be able to text and make calls while travelling around the capital should the development go ahead.

O2 and Vodafone are said to be involved in the project which will be made available on the Central, Piccadilly and Jubilee lines.

Huawei remains one of the largest telecommunications enterprises in the world and has established a base in many countries, including the UK.

It first moved to the UK in 2001, before setting up its European headquarters in Hampshire in 2003.

Although the move to upgrade the London Underground phone network has not been met with open arms in some quarters, one man who is in favour of the installation is London Mayor Boris Johnson.

According to the Press Association, Mr Johnson has labelled the plans as "the way to go", despite fears from various MPs that the move could heighten fears of terrorist activity.

"We have got to be clear, a lot of people will not be completely enthusiastic about having mobile phones on the tube," he told the publication.

Concerns surrounding the cost of the upkeep of the network have been allayed by Transport for London representatives, who have insisted that any burden must be left with private firms and not be funded by public tax.

However, Mr Johnson reiterated that London is currently lagging behind other major cities which already have the system up and running.

"We have been unable to do it because our tunnels are so narrow, but in the long run it is progress," he added.

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