London Underground Pushing Ahead with Phones on Trains Plan

The UK’s subterranean railway network, London Underground says that it intended to push ahead with a feasibility study into plans to permit the use of mobile phones on the networks underground stations and possibly trains. A feasibility study, beginning this month, will look at setting up mobile phone transmitters at four central London Tube stations.

There have been fears since the July 2005 bombings that mobile phones could be used to detonate bombs on the underground - although their absence last year did not seem to prove a problem for the terrorists. While much has been made of the fact that mobile phones were used in the Madrid bombings in 2004, it was the handset internal timers that were used, not remote communications over the cellular network.

A London Underground spokesman said that the study will look into the issues of space, power and infrastructure requirements for installing base station antenna inside the underground stations. If the study is positive, a small trial involving a few stations could be operational from the end of next year. A full commercial service could be in operation from the middle of 2008. An original call for interest by London Underground received 29 replies from interested companies.

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