The plan to enable tube passengers to use their mobile phones whilst travelling in time for the Olympics have fallen through.
The huge complexity of the project means that there will be no chance of it being completed in time for the games.
The collapse in talks could also mean that the supply heavily discounted equipment from Chinese telecoms giant Huawei will not be provided. Huawei had promised a “gift” of £50m as a goodwill gesture for the next Olympic city. It is no longer clear whether Huawei will stay involved in the project if it is continued after the Olympics.
A joint statement from the operators said: “We have been working closely with infrastructure partners and London Underground for some time with the hope of delivering mobile services to the London Underground and are disappointed that it will not be possible to deliver such services in time for next year’s Olympic Games. As a group, we will continue to positively explore all other avenues available to us in order to provide a service at a later date.”
Huawei and the four UK mobile network operators are thought to be millions of pounds out of pocket after investing heavily in development.
It is understood the collapse was not linked to Boris Johnson’s insistence that public money should not be used to fund the project. A separate project to install wi-fi access in 120 stations will still go ahead.