Huawei offers to bring mobile coverage to London Underground

In a generous move, Huawei today announced intentions to bring mobile phone coverage to London's sprawling underground system. Expected to be worth $80 million, The Sunday Times is reporting that the move would be a gift from one Olympic nation to another, and Chinese-based Huawei would expect no payment for the installation.

During the Olympic bid, the IOC pointed at London's transportation system as a weak point, declaring it as "obsolete." In response, Transport for London are planning to carry out numerous improvements to services, including the DLR and London Overground. Mobile phone coverage has not been integral to TfL's Olympic plans, but a spokesperson confirmed that "[TfL] are currently in discussion with mobile phone operators and other suppliers about the potential provision of mobile phone services on the deep Tube network."

According to the report, operators have expressed interest, and Huawei's offer would involve the key players funding installation work, while Huawei would eventually make its money back over time through maintenance contracts.

Not everyone is convinced of the deal's benefits, however. Conservative MP Patrick Mercer expressed concerns over security, citing evidence that "a proportion of the cyberattacks on this country come from China." But despite the apparent ties with the Chinese government that a deal like this suggests, Huawei has long denied any affiliation of the sort. Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei formerly served in the People's Liberation Army as an engineer, but today has a less than two percent stake in the company.

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I see paranoia is alive and well from some of these comments, and yet another idiotic mp fighting posstive change. I understand the chinese people are launching the attacks but this is a company that installs systems like this all over the world.. and seriously the worst thing that would happen if it got turned off would be no facebook and no calls till you got out of the tube system just like we do now.

And for those people talking about terrorists, their going to blow things up no mater what.. just like they did last time on the tube with no reception.

Also today, a large wooden horse with "Made in China" stamped on it's hindquarters was rolled to the city's edge this morning. London officials said "It's probably best if we roll it into the city center for closer inspection. What could possibly go wrong? Wouldn't want to look a gift horse in the mouth!"

The fact that it is a 'gift' makes it a little suspicious in my opinion.
I suppose the securty factor only comes into consideration if Huawei have complete control of the system without the British Government having access? If they are making up their money in Maintenance contrracts then the government must be getting into bed for a LONG time for this to be worthwhile?

Ok what's the catch? £80m worth of maintenance contracts? They'd only claw that back by the time we've moved on a generation in phone technology. They going to update it to 4G at a later date?

The one thing I like about the tube is my piece and quiet...

shhac said,
In other news, a recent streak of phone-bombs on underground trains brings service to a halt.

my thoughts exactly, I was always under the impression that the reason for not enhancing mobile reception in the underground was to make sure that the exploitation of remote explosives a difficult task.

Conservative MP Patrick Mercer expressed concerns over security, citing evidence that "a proportion of the cyberattacks on this country come from China."

From the people who brought you 10% of all muslims are terrorists?
In the spirit of the occasion I think its fair to say 100% of Conservative MP's don't want to do anything good for this country.

He may not be the best source, but he certainly does have a point. My first reaction when I read so much as the headline was "OK, not having any important conversations on the tube, then."
Huawei's connection to the Chinese government is old and deep, and the fact that this is a "gift" makes me all the more suspicious.

Teebor said,

From the people who brought you 10% of all muslims are terrorists?
In the spirit of the occasion I think its fair to say 100% of Conservative MP's don't want to do anything good for this country.

It's for tinfoil hat newspaper readers who hardly know how to use technology; unfortunately these people seem to get branded as spokespersons.

There's all this concern about China running foreign infrastructure or so they claim, if China does go renegade and the hardware does have to be switched off how would Transport for London be in a worse position than it is now.

LOL I can see why there are concerns, capitol of England getting hardware from China to enable people to use their cells in the vast Underground system

Please be Data Only!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Or you can keep your gift.