Channel tunnel mobile network to launch

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New signal technology

From July 2012, mobile phone use may no longer be off limits to Channel tunnel travellers, as new signal technology will allow them to browse the internet and communicate up to 250ft under the sea between the UK and France.

French capital Paris already offers underground mobile connectivity on its Metro rail service and there were plans to create a London Underground mobile network in time for the 2012 Olympics, but the scheme was cancelled in April 2011 due to funding and logistical problems.

The Channel tunnel mobile development was reported in national newspaper the Daily Telegraph and follows a strong financial year for operator Eurotunnel in 2011, including a 2 per cent rise in passengers and a 14 per cent rise in freight. The tunnel route takes around 35 minutes and is used by both business commuters and pleasure seekers.

Another opportunity for mobile marketing

From this summer - before the Olympics begin, if the project stays on schedule - all passengers will be able to use smartphones to find information and contact others, just as they would on an over-ground train.

The Channel tunnel first opened in 1994 and is renowned for its innovative nature, being named as one of the Seven Wonders Of The Modern World by the American Society of Civil Engineers. Despite this, however, there has never been a usable mobile signal underground in its 18-year history.

Daniel Nolan, managing director at theEword, said: "In an age where smartphones are seemingly used everywhere, connectivity problems are much less prominent than in the late 1990s and early 2000s - but underground systems remain a challenge.

"This new development is great news for mobile marketers as it means yet another area where mobiles can be integrated with our lives without inconvenient limits. With the Olympics on the way and people using all modes of transport to reach the UK, the timing is ideal."