This move has obvious benefits for the online-addicted who will be able to check their email, surf, tweet and check-in on Foursquare right up to the point their train leaves the platform, rather than having to stop at the ticket gates. Plus one's refund claim for delayed journeys can commence while being inconvenienced, assuming you're not stuck mid-tunnel. Planning an alternative route will also be made easier if your travel apps work underground.
The plan is to get it sorted by 2012, which could be handy if you're waiting for a train while the men's 100m final shoots off. No need to miss the most exciting 9 seconds of the Olympics as it happens.
It may also mean that voice calls will be possible from platforms where mobile signal is non-existent if you're packing a device with Skype on board or similar, although the Register didn't get a clear answer about VOIP.
However, we're not sure we need another excuse not to switch off and put it away. Our pile of unread books gets larger by the day and we already think in hashtags.
It's also not clear at this stage what costs will be involved for the user.
Interestingly, TFL's press release also mentions that "this invitation to tender will also allow prospective partners to supply details of how they would create a wi-fi network at street level at places such as bus shelters or bus hubs." Discussions about the provision of mobile phone services on the tube network are ongoing.
Image / DeanN