Posts Tagged ‘mobile phones’

20 minutes is too long without my smartphone

04/04/2011, 07:00:56 AM

by Sally Bercow

Not being a sporty sort, the most exciting thing I’d read about the Olympics – by far – was that they would usher in the use of mobile phones on the London Underground. Hurrah ­– an end to the frustration of losing my signal every time I take the tube. I’ll soon be able to tweet and text as I trundle round the Circle. I shall do my Ocado shop from the (relative) comfort of the Jubilee line. No more shall I have to time my tube journeys around people who (allegedly) only have 10 minute “windows” to take calls in their frightfully high-powered days.

And then Boris goes and announces last week that the project to install an underground 3G network has been shelved, at least for now. It seems that it’s too technically complex to complete in time for the Olympics and some reports suggest there was a ding-dong over funding (the mobile networks and the Chinese telecoms company huawei had been expected to pick up the tab, estimated at around £100 million).

I was gutted. By any standard, it’s a crushing blow. How are we meant to morph into David Cameron’s “nation of entrepreneurs” if we can’t even do business on the run, for goodness sake? Mobiles on the tube will boost London’s economy. How much harder will it be to “drive growth” if you can’t stay in range and in touch with the world 24/7? Just think how useful it would be to text your clients and reassure them that, ever the true professional, you are en route but hampered by signalling problems. Other cities – Paris, Hong Kong, Barcelona – have sorted it, why is London such a dinosaur? Never mind the much-maligned civil service, the tube is a strong contender for the “enemy of enterprise” crown. (more…)

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