Home Asides Finally, Verizon inks deal with Transit Wireless for subway cell service

Finally, Verizon inks deal with Transit Wireless for subway cell service

by Benjamin Kabak

When Transit Wireless and the MTA announced expanded cell service at 30 additional stations in late April, the press conference included word that the two remaining major carriers — Sprint and Verizon Wireless — would soon be on board. Sprint wrapped its deal a month ago, and today, Transit Wireless announced that Verizon has come to terms too.

“We are extremely pleased to gain Verizon’s participation in our wireless network in the New York City subway system, facilitating high quality voice and data services in the underground,” William A. Bayne Jr., CEO of Transit Wireless, said in a statement. “We have now secured partnerships with all four major wireless carriers to bring the vast majority of New Yorkers, visitors, government agency personnel, transit employees, contractors and first responders the ability to be connected in the stations we’ve constructed – a real milestone.”

The carrier will bring its 3G and 4G LTE voice and data services to Transit Wireless’ in-station network in the subway system. Verizon will begin installation of their equipment soon, and Verizon Wireless customers — like me! — should see service in the 36 stations currently online later this year. The 40 Phase 2 stations set for early-2014 activation will include Verizon services. Welcome to the future.

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13 comments

Chet August 20, 2013 - 3:45 pm

This is nice, but a far cry from what I saw on the Paris Metro last month- people using their phones on the platforms and on the trains- even in the tunnels! Oh, they tended to speak softly so it wasn’t annoying to others.

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Benjamin Kabak August 20, 2013 - 3:46 pm

DC has had in-system cell service for nearly a decade. It’s progress, but my “Welcome to the future” comment was facetious.

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SEAN August 20, 2013 - 4:41 pm

Did Verizon close the deal with a red checkmark? LOL

Can you hear me now? Yes, despite the express train that just past.

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Samuel Wong August 20, 2013 - 6:02 pm

No 4G service down in the stations yet, unless you’re by the open cut stations. I think it’s a still a rumor though, but Metro Center maybe up for an upgrade to 4G soon. Metro/WMATA is still mostly 3G.

I might compare the signals though. At some stations, the data coverage is still very weak (<-100 dbm at times), but voice is strong at the stations.

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TTF August 20, 2013 - 3:51 pm

I expected to find this here but was surprised to find it on droid-life earlier. I think it is a nice start. At least until VZW starts their underground data package surcharge.

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alen August 20, 2013 - 4:13 pm

hope it works in the tunnels where i really need it. when the train is stuck and i have to text my wife or someone else to tell them

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Benjamin Kabak August 20, 2013 - 4:16 pm

It’s the same as it’s been for years. There’s no service in the tunnels, only at stations.

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SEAN August 20, 2013 - 4:49 pm

In Metro’s case, they have service in their tunnels, correct?

Like the MTA, Metrorail has some long stretches that run on viaducts or open cuts allowing for easy cell service. The new Silver line is all viaduct after East Falls Church.

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Samuel Wong August 20, 2013 - 5:55 pm

Most undergound stations within WMATA/Metro have cell service, but not all of them. Some stations like Rosslyn and DuPont which are deeper than other stations rely on cell signals from the ground.

Some tunnel segments have cell service, but not all. I know the Rosslyn tube has been upgraded recently for cell service, but it’s still quite spotty down there.

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SEAN August 20, 2013 - 6:21 pm

What about Weaton? It’s the deepest station on the entire Metrorail system as I recall.

BBnet3000 August 20, 2013 - 4:42 pm

Maybe phase II will change this, but its quite a rare occurrence for me to have service currently at the stations/tunnel sections i tend to visit.

I do have the good fortune to cross the Manhattan bridge on the train though, so theres a good opportunity to come up for air from the usual subway radio silence.

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SEAN August 20, 2013 - 6:16 pm

Just don’t open a “Pandora’s” box while down there. LOL

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Nyland8 August 20, 2013 - 6:41 pm

Oh Goody! Now I can soon make and receive calls in the place I’m least likely to be able to hear them. In a subway station.

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