The London Underground has said that it will press ahead with plans to install mobile phone masts underground even though many fear that doing so will provide terrorists with a new way of detonating bombs on the system.

The LU said that it will be launching a feasibility study this month that will look at setting up mobile phone transmitters at four central-London Tube stations.

An LU spokesman said the feasibility study, due to last 2 months, will look at the space, power and infrastructure implications of installing mobile phone masts in stations.

The plans will see a system up and running by 2008.

The LU spokesman said: "The invitation to tender could potentially be issued at the beginning of 2007, with the contract being awarded in late-2007. Mobile phone services could then be available to Tube passengers on Underground stations from the summer of 2008".

Originally announced in March 2005, the London Underground plans on making it possible for travellers to use their mobile phones on the concourse, platform and ticket halls, and hopes that users of the network will be able to use their journey time watching television or surfing the Internet.

"We know that many Londoners would like the convenience of being able to use their mobile phones at Tube stations throughout the Underground network."

"We also want to see how the technology could be taken even further, for instance wireless internet so passengers could receive up-to-the-minute travel information via their laptop or mobile phone", a LU spokesman said last year.

Although a mobile phone signal can be got on around 55 per cent of the current network some passengers have fears, not of terrorist actions, but of the annoyance of other passengers using their phones.

"I hope they have quiet carriages like overland trains, it would be a nightmare stuck on the Waterloo and City Line with hundreds of phones going off at once", passenger Frances Barber outside Waterloo station told Pocket-lint.

It's not the first time the London Underground has toyed with the idea of allowing people to use their phones underground.

In the 1980s Hutchinson, the now owner of 3 the 3G network, once ran the Rabbit base stations.

Subscribers to the service could make mobile calls when they were within 100 metres of a Rabbit transmitter, and hence use their phone underground.

None have survived to the present day. All that remains of Rabbit are a few lonely signs in places such as New Barnet and Brighton stations.