Rating: Is there a sinister reason behind it?
Regular readers of GoMobile News will know we’ve long been a harsh critic of the lack of cellular connectivity on London’s Underground rail network (affectionately known as The Tube). As reported previously here and here Virgin Media is deploying Wi-Fi on London Underground stations ahead of this Summer’s Olympic Games. That system will only serve those standing on London Underground platforms. So, Ian Brown, CEO with wireless coverage specialists, Axell Wireless has made an impassioned plea to extend wireless connectivity on-board the trains as well. This would provide coverage for the full range of mobile voice, messaging and data s ervices. Why hasn’t it happen? Well, GoMobile News thinks there’s a sinister reason behind it. And the Chinese could be to blame.You have to concede that the conspiracy theorists have got some really convincing arguments. As Axell says, the company has installed wireless coverage systems in over 80 Metro Networks and its technology has also even been deployed in the Channel Tunnel. But not in London.
What’s more, Axell is a British company so the-powers-that-be can’t claim to be ignorant of the technology’s existence. (Axell isn’t the only company in this sector with British developed technology, either.)
It’s especially odd since Axell’s equipment has already been installed to provide public safety communications throughout the Tube.
Furthermore, Axell’s technology is designed to support multiple standards (GSM, 3G, LTE).
OK. So we’ve established that there are public services communications on the Tube but no cellular.
Why? Because the public safety networks conform to a specialist standard known as TETRA (Terrestrial Trunked Radio). Which is very definitely not the same as GSM.
If you are going to run GSM in the Underground tunnels, then you are going to need GSM base stations.
But the London authorities even turned down the offer of such base stations for free. Why? Well the official reason is different. But the company which offered to supply said base stations was Huawei.
Not only is Huawei Chinese, it has extremely strong links to China’s Red Army. The thought of a Chinese company installing gear which would make it possible to listen into cellular calls made on the Tube was too much for the British powers-that-be.
Don’t try to deny that listening in over GSM is possible, the conspiracy theorists argue. Britain recently just got back four British hostages in Afghanistan because the UK and USA intercepted a GSM call.
GoMobile News suspects that the London authorities are waiting for the dust to settle after the Olympic Games when everybody has forgotten the feeble excuses put forward against taking Huawei up on its generous offer.
Then we might actually get cellular to work on London’s Underfground. Talking of which, doesn’t cellular work on the Heathrow-Paddington Express? We seem to recall that it does.