Londoners less than keen on Underground cellphone plan

Posted by Emma Woollacott

Huawei must be feeling rather hurt. It's offered to foot the £50 million bill for bringing cellphone coverage to the London Underground - and Londoners have given the plan a resounding thumbs-down.

The offer was made in light of the 2012 Olympics, and would see network operators O2 and Vodafone partnering with Huawei to install the system, the idea being that increased traffic would eventually cover the cost - Transport for London has said it's not prepared for the cost to be passed on to passengers or the tax-payer.

But a survey of Londoners by phone vendor GoodMobilePhones has found that only a quarter think that it's a good idea. A third said they thought it would encourage muggings, and 16 percent thought they'd inevitably end up making more calls and therefore paying higher bills.

Fourteen percent said it would just be too unbearable having to listen to other people's inane conversations at high volume on a packed tube train.

The findings aren't exactly good news for GoodMobilePhones itself, which was presumably hoping for great enthusiasm and a boom in phone sales. 

"The news of the underground mobile network certainly has caused quite a stir, but I am surprised to see so many people are against it. Not only would it mean you could make calls on the tube, but it could be a great success in the case of any emergency," says founder Mark Owen.

"There are obviously risks with having increased usage of mobile phones on the tube, but these are things that can be sorted. Having an underground mobile phone network is the next logical step, following in the footsteps of Paris and Hong Kong, who have had no major problems."