TfL Cans Underground Mobile Phone Trials

Well we didn't want phone calls you muppets, just data access!

In March 2007 Transport for London (TfL) gave many Capital dwellers cause for cheer when it decided to trial mobile phones on The Underground. Today it smashed those hopes… at least for now.

“London Underground tendered for a trial of mobile phones on the Waterloo and City line but the market has yet to provide us with a credible proposal for enabling mobile phone use on the Tube,” said a TfL spokeswoman bringing us about as much joy as a ‘signal failure’ announcement. “While it is technically possible to deploy mobile phone and data wireless solutions on the deep level Underground tunnels and stations, the unique nature and environment of the Tube mean that project costs would be prohibitively high at this time.”

Now ‘at this time’ is a biggie because 1. It gives us another thing to blame the bankers for in this recession of ours and 2. TfL started feasibility studies into this in March 2005 and took ”’TWO YEARS”’ just to trial it – so I wouldn’t hold your breath. The TfL spokeswoman did add that three alternative proposals were made to it but reports none were deemed commercially “credible”.

Now I tend to pride myself on making fairly accurate predictions so it’s worth pointing out I was horrendously wrong here. To quote: “If the trial is a success – which it surely will be – then LU will engage in a full tendering process to select a contractor to provide mobile phone and new technology services such as DAB and Internet access to the full network. The earliest date this would be completed is calculated as mid-2009.”


”’Note”’ At no point do I endorse ”making phone calls” on the Tube – much like with call on Planes it would be a horrendous idea and too noisy anyhow – but data availability to check important emails or send SMS, that’s a different story.


Unlike other sites, we thoroughly review everything we recommend, using industry standard tests to evaluate products. We’ll always tell you what we find. We may get a commission if you buy via our price links. Tell us what you think – email the Editor