AT&T, T-Mobile sign on for underground cell serviceBy
With MTA CEO and Chairman Jay Walder pushing hard for technological innovation underground, Transit Wireless renewed its attempts at bringing cell and wifi service to the subway system. The company’s three-year old plan had fallen by the wayside struggled to secure financial backing. When the money came in, so too did the cell companies.
As Business Week reported late last week, AT&T and T-Mobile have signed on to offer their service in the subways. The two cell companies have reportedly inked ten-year deals with Transit Wireless, and the deals can be renewed four times for five years each. As Michael Grynbaum reports, the service should be ready to go in six stations around 14th St. by the end of 2011, and Transit Wireless will have the entire underground part of the subway system cell-ready by the end of 2015.
While this project is well behind Transit Wireless’ initial launch date, that carriers are serious about it is a very good sign. As Walder said to The Times, “Phone carriers signing on is further proof that this project is a reality.” No longer will the subways be the last bastion of relief from cell signals, and in a few years, we’ll find out if constant access brings with a panacea or a prison in this hyper-connecte city of ours.