The London Underground will be wi-fi-enabled in time for the 2012 Olympics, Transport for London (TfL) has confirmed. Speaking exclusively to Mobile Marketing, TfL director of strategy and service development Gareth Powell said that London Underground is on track to deliver wi-fi services at up to 120 stations before the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
“We are in the final stages of the tender process,” Powell told us. “London Underground is continuing with preparations to install the necessary infrastructure and is on schedule to complete the project as planned. An announcement of the chosen service provider will be made in early Spring, leaving plenty of time for this to be delivered to customers in time for the 2012 Games.”
Wi-fi will be available on platforms, ticket offices and escalators, but not on Underground trains. TfL says that the cost of the service to passengers is undecided and will depend on which operator wins the contract to provide the service.
The news that smartphone users will have access to wi-fi on the Tube is all the more welcome as there will be no mobile coverage on the underground in time for the Games. Last April, the Daily Telegraph carried a report saying that the UK’s four mobile operators had shelved plans to provide mobile coverage in time for the Games, because it was impossible to get it ready in time. This in spite of the fact that Chinese telecoms giant Huwaei had offered to provide up to £50m worth of technology as a gift from one Olympic nation to another, representing one third of the estimated £150m cost of the project.