A report released on Sunday says that Huawei, the Chinese tech giants, may have offered to install a mobile phone network in the London Underground system, worth 50 million pounds completely free of cost. They have also promised to get this project over with before the start of the London Olympics scheduled for 2012. The Sunday Times reported that this project, worth an equivalent of $80 million, is meant as a gift from China to England for the Olympics as coming from one Olympic host to another. Mobile transmitters will be planted by the company on the ceilings of the underground tunnels, enabling passengers to talk on their cell phones from inside the trains, for the first time ever.
The payment for the installation works has been agreed to by major cellphone operators such as Vodafone and O2, while the intentions of Huawei are to earn its share from maintenance fees. It has been confirmed by Transport for London, the body of officials that is responsible for the administration of the transport system of the English capital, that there had indeed been talks about getting a mobile network attached to the underground. However, they did not confirm on any such negotiations with Huawei.
A spokesman for the governing body said that the Mayor of the capital along with Transport for London is in talks with various mobile phone operators and suppliers about installing a cellular network in the underground Tube tunnels. However, a lawmaker from the Conservative party argued that such an agreement with a Chinese firm providing a cellular network can pose security risks. He drew a parallel with the large portion of cyber-attacks in England that come from China and that as London will be a global spotlight during the event, there was no sense in trusting a Chinese firm with such a sensitive job.