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TfL Denies Alcatel-Lucent Talks For Tube Mobile Coverage

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There are currently no plans to bring mobile coverage to the London Underground with Alcatel-Lucent, TfL tells TechWeekEurope

Transport for London (TfL) has denied it is in talks with Alcatel-Lucent to bring mobile coverage to the London Underground.

It was reported earlier today that the French telecommunications company was looking to become the latest firm to attempt to bring mobile connectivity to the tube, following a succession of failed ventures.

No substance

Ben Verwaayen, chief executive of Alcatel-Lucent, told The Daily Telegraph it was keen on letting people use their mobile devices on the tube. The company claimed that if employees had the ability to make phone calls and send emails while travelling, it would add £1.1 billion to the UK economy.

No details about the cost of the project or the timescale were provided, but Verwaayen is reported to have said the deal was “not a hypothetical, it is coming.”

However, TfL said there was no substance to these claims. TechWeekEurope understands that Alcatel-Lucent has been working with Virgin Media on the recently-launched London Underground Wi-Fi service, but there are no talks ongoing between TfL and the French company over mobile coverage.

Six stations received Wi-Fi connections over the weekend, with 80 more scheduled to go online before the Olympic Games this summer and 120 by the end of 2012. Wi-Fi will only be available on the station platform, not on the trains themselves, although connections can be received up to 30 seconds into the tunnel.

The service will be free until the conclusion of the Olympics, after which it will only remain free of charge to customers of Virgin Media and other selected networks.

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