“We are in the final stages of the tender process,” Powell told Mobile Marketing. “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 Tube trains. As yet the cost of the service hasn't been set and will depend on which operator wins the contract to provide the service.
According to the FT, Virgin has also bid for the contracts to provide WiFi services. Last month, it lost out to O2 in an auction to provide WiFi to Westminster council, but it is still participating in the contract to cover the London Underground.
"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." said Mobile Marketing
Cellular News said that there had been unconfirmed reports that China's Huawei would offer to build the network infrastructure for mobile coverage on the London Underground free as a "gift" from the former Olympic nation to the next. Apparently £50m worth of technology was offered, representing one third of the estimated £150m cost of the project.