line 10 signal

August 3rd, 2008

One of the biggest problems with the new subway Line 10 has been the lack of a cellphone signal. Apparently a Xiaolingtong signal has been available on station platforms and in tunnels since yesterday, but still no China Mobile. 新京报/The Beijing News’ Zuo Lin went looking for an explanation:


China Mobile: Line 10 could first open a cellphone signal then settle the bill


Line 10 has “opened” Xiaolingtong; China Mobile proposes two solutions for “opening cellphone signals on Line 10”

Now, that headline is one of those two solutions: Just get the system up and running so that China Mobile users can use their phones inside the subway, then settle the bill with the subway company. The other is to get a third party to assess the situation and recommend an appropriate fee. What fee? Well:


Regarding this matter, head of the publicity department of the Beijing City Subway Operation Company Ltd Gu Peng said, according to international practice, when telecoms companies want to provide a signal in underground space, the have to pay a fee. Moreover, Xiaolingtong has already reached an agreement with Beijing City Subway Operation Company Ltd and its signal has complete coverage of every platform and passageway in every Line 10 station.


Gu Peng said, although China Mobile already has coverage in Line 5, it has still not paid the subway company.

Oh dear. Zuo Lin also talks to He Ning, general manager of China Mobile Beijing:


He admitted that China Mobile has not been able to reach a consensus on setting a fee for access for its wireless service’s signal with the relevant department of the Beijing Subway, and the difference between the two parties’ offers is quite large.

Which is why China Mobile has proposed those two possible solutions.

There’s an article by the same journalist attached announcing the opening of Xiaolingtong service in Line 10 and the Olympic Branch Line. Nothing remarkable about it except that it reminds Xiaolingtong users that Netcom’s equipment can’t keep up with the trains, so you won’t get a stable signal in the tunnels, only on the platforms and in the passageways.

But if you use China Mobile or Netcom, you’re going to have to wait.

On the subject of Line 10, Zuo Lin also reports that the opening of Line 10 raised the passenger volume of the whole subway system. If I’m reading this rightly, the passenger volume on Line 10 has been steadily increasing by 10,000 per day to reach 400,000 person-times. The line most affected by the opening of Line 10 is Line 5, whose average daily passenger volume has increased from 550,000 to around 660,000 person-times.

But apparently traffic across the whole subway network has been increasing steadily, and Fuxingmen is the busiest of the 16 interchange stations, with a daily average of 220,000 person-times changing trains. Jianguomen takes the silver with 180,000 (sorry, couldn’t resist that), and spots three to five are occupied by Xizhimen, Huixinxijie Nankou and Guomao. Actually, I’m surprised that those two Line 10 interchanges even get a look-in. I would’ve assumed the Line 1/Batong interchanges at Sihui and Sihui East and Dongzhimen would be far busier. Sihui in the evening peak and Sihui East in the morning peak can be scarily packed, in my experience.


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