Huawei wants to bring mobile network to Tube

Chinese technology outfit Huawei has offered to deck out the London Underground with a mobile phone network for free, according to a report in the Sunday Times.

The report, which is unsourced, says the firm wants to install a £50 million network in time for the 2012 Olympics, and couched the offer as a gift from one Olympic host nation to another.

The plan is to install cellular transmitters along the ceilings of the Tube tunnels. Apparently Vodafone and O2 would pay for the installation, while Huawei would earn income by supplying maintenance.

Transport for London (TfL),would not confirm Huawei's involvement in the scheme, which as been mooted for some years now.

"Transport for London and the Mayor of London are currently in discussion with mobile phone operators and other suppliers about the potential provision of mobile phone services on the deep Tube network," a spokesman for TfL said.

Huawei was founded by a former People's Liberation Army engineer, Ren Zhengfei, but denies it still has ties to the Chinese military.