Huawei is offering to outfit London's Underground transit system with a free mobile phone network in time for the 2012 Olympics. Some, however, are uneasy about such a gift.
the Chinese electronics maker and telecom solutions giant whose technology is
at the heart of numerous mobile networks
, is looking to make a bigger name for
itself outside of Asia. As part of these efforts, it has
offered to outfit the London Underground with a mobile phone network in time
for the 2012 Olympics-for free.
reportedly presented its offer as a gift from one Olympic host to another. News
estimated the cost of such a gift to
run approximately $80 million, while a report in the Financial Times
put the price of fully outfitting
the Underground at more than twice that.
the proposal being considered, according to FT, Huawei would offer its hardware
at a steep discount, and additionally hope to earn income from maintenance
fees. Critics of the offer have suggested that terrorists might try to use the
mobile network to remotely detonate explosives.
report added that Transport for London
(TfL), which runs the Underground, said in a statement that TfL and the mayor
of London "are currently in
discussion with mobile phone operators and other suppliers about the potential
provision of mobile phone services on the deep Tube network. Given the
financial pressures on TfL's budgets, any solution would need to be funded
through mobile operators with no cost to fare or taxpayers."
time for the Olympics, priority would be placed on completing London's
Central and Jubilee lines, which connect the center of London
with the Olympic park.
addition to the quick timeframe of the project, other challenges include the
Underground system itself, which as the world's first has old infrastructure
and is particularly deep. FT adds that contractors would have just a few hours
each evening to work on the project, making the process of installing miniature
cells in stations, tunnels and subway cars a tremendous challenge.
also a matter of security-not only in regard to the infrastructure, which FT
says has "faced stringent tests" to make sure it doesn't overheat or
malfunction, but on a national level, as has recently been an issue in the United
was originally founded by a former People's Liberation Army engineer, but
denies suggestions that it is in any way tied to the Chinese military. Still,
there's a lingering spirit of distrust toward the company, whether for
suspected government ties or not. In 2003, Cisco accused it of stealing its
router code, and in July 2010, Motorola filed a suit accusing Huawei of
scheming to steal its trade secrets-allegations that Huawei said were entirely
Feb. 18, Huawei announced that it would back out of its initiative to acquire
patents from the U.S. technology company 3Leaf Systems-a move that was in
keeping with recommendations from the U.S. Committee on Foreign Investment in
the United States (CFIUS) and smiled on by the Obama administration, which was
relieved of the uncomfortable situation of stepping in to stop the
was a difficult decision; however, we have decided to accept the recommendation
of CFIUS to withdraw our application to acquire specific assets of 3Leaf,"
Huawei said in a statement, according to the Wall Street Journal. "The
significant impact and attention that this transaction has caused were not what
added that Huawei again emphasized that it is a "100 percent privately
held global company owned entirely by its employees and has no link with the
the recent Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona,
Spain, however, Huawei
was just one of the dozens of manufacturers presenting new tablets. Its IDEOS
runs Android 2.2, features a 7-inch display, has a microSD slot and is
competitively priced at $300.
September, similarly aiming for a cost-conscious market, Huawei introduced four
Android-running phones, including the IDEOS, calling it the "world's first
affordable smartphone with Google." Depending on the market, the
smartphone is priced at between $100 and $200.