Boris asks telcos to fund Underground 3G network

London Mayor Boris Johnson has announced that he expects the UK's mobile networks to fork out for his plans to blanket the Tube with 3G signals.

According to The Sunday Telegraph, Johnson's plans - which will see the vast majority of the London Underground network receiving mobile signals by the time the Olympics get underway in 2012 - will likely cost millions of pounds.

Rather than ask the taxpayer to stump up the money, Johnson is apparently going cap-in-hand to the mobile networks - asking O2, Vodafone, Orange, T-Mobile, and 3 to contribute to the cost of the roll-out.

The underground, being underground and all, has traditionally been a big blackspot in the capital's mobile coverage. The birth of the smartphone, and useful journey planning sites and apps, has meant that not having a signal when you descend into the Stygian depths is becoming an increasing issue - so Johnson's plan certainly has its upsides.

The downside is, of course, the cost - even if the mobile networks stump up the entire cost, they will have no choice but to pass that expense on to consumers - and price hikes will affect everyone in the country, not just those who avail themselves of the new service in London.

Despite this, Johnson has vowed to "bash heads together in the mobile phone industry" in order to see his dream of unfettered mobile Internet access while on the Tube made into a reality.