Huawei is to donate equipment worth over £100m to help with the installation of a mobile phone network on the London Underground in time for the 2012 Olympics, according to a source close to the negotiations.
The source told V3.co.uk that Huawei has discussed with Transport for London (TfL) the work and equipment required for such a network, which is likely to have 3G capabilities, but said that nothing official has been signed.
Huawei refused to confirm the details, but said that it is involved in the discussions and played up its security credentials in the face of criticism that a mobile network could allow terrorists to detonate bombs remotely.
"Due to business confidentiality, we are unable to comment on the project at this point, but we can confirm that we are involved in the bidding process. The UK is an important market for Huawei," the statement read.
"Our newly opened cyber security centre in the UK shows our commitment to ensuring that our equipment meets the most stringent security requirements."
The Chinese firm also sought to distance itself from the Chinese government, and possible accusations of government espionage, by reiterating that Huawei is a privately held company owned entirely by its employees.
TfL also refused to confirm the stage that the negotiations had reached, but said that any network would have to be funded solely by private companies.
"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," said TfL in a statement.
"Given the financial pressures on TfL's budgets, any solution would need to be funded through mobile operators with no cost to fare or taxpayer."
All four network operators in the UK - O2, Vodafone, Everything Everywhere and Three - are likely to be involved in the work to install the network, which will start with the Jubilee and Central lines that serve the Olympics site in Stratford.
O2 said that it hopes to be able to bring its expertise from installing a live network on the Glasgow underground to the London rollout.
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