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O2: London could be next for Underground phone calls

London Underground - currently mobile free
London Underground - currently mobile free

O2 has said it believes the London Underground could be ready for mobile phone reception on the tube if trials of the system in Glasgow are a success.

Five of the busiest stations in the Scottish city, Buchanan Street, St Enoch, Kelvinbridge, Hillhead and Partick, will be equipped with multi-antenna system from transmission provider Arqiva and managed by O2.

The system will initially allow 2G calls to be made as well as texting, with 3G services following shortly afterwards for internet and video calling (though nobody would ever do that, especially on the tube).

Long time coming

"This has been sometime in the planning but I am delighted that we can offer this service to our passengers in time for Christmas," said assistant chief executive Gordon Maclennan, of Strathclyde Partnership for Transport.

"It is a first for Glasgow and it opens the door for wider Wi-Fi coverage in the Underground in future."

The London system has been mooted for many months now, though difficulties come physically putting the technology actually in the tunnels.

An alternative, allowing reception only on platforms, considered, but the amount of mobiles going in and out of reception each time would have crippled the system.