Huawei has all but finalised a deal to provide telecoms equipment for the London underground’s mobile network.
Boris Johnson has been pushing for improved mobile and wi-fi coverage for the city throughout 2010, with the underground scheme being part of the measures to hook all this up before the Olympics arrives.
According to a report in the FT, Huawei is the only equipment provider in the running, and is prepared to offer a large discount in order to expand its presence in the UK mobile market. The system will cost around £100 million, possibly more.
Thales will install and maintain Huawei’s equipment, which will be installed on the roof of the underground’s tunnels at regular intervals. When the deal is signed and dotted, work is expected to begin this summer.
The London Daily News, however, notes that there are some worries surrounding the discount deal. The Joint Intelligence Committee has reportedly voiced concerns that “China’s offer” to help build the network could represent a potential threat to the city’s security.
A spokesperson for Huawei told the FT: “Huawei is a 100 per cent privately held global company owned entirely by its employees and has no link with the Chinese government.”